England head coach Eddie Jones faces a nervous wait over the fitness of Saracens and British and Irish Lions star Maro Itoje following a facial injury sustained at the weekend.
The 23-year-old left the field early in the second half of Saracens’ 20 – 19 defeat to Harlequins on Sunday following a collision with Mike Brown’s shoulder.
With blood pouring from his mouth, initial fears were that the influential second-row, who can also terrorise on the flanks, had suffered a broken jaw or perhaps even a broken cheekbone.
If either injury is confirmed then he will be at risk of missing the start of the Six Nations early next year. With England looking for three championships in a row, the loss of Itoje would be a considerable blow for Jones and the England coaching team.
More immediate is the blow to Saracens ahead of the resumption of the Champions Cup this weekend as with Sarries enduring a slump in form that has seen them lose five consecutive games, the loss of Itoje could not have come at a worse time.
With the current European champions set to welcome Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne to the Allianz Park on Sunday, they will be looking to maintain their position at the top of Pool 2, currently one point above their French rivals.
Ahead of that contest, fans await word on Itoje and his injury, with everyone hoping the prognosis is not as bad as feared.