England boss Eddie Jones dealt Six Nations blow: Elliot Daly could miss entire competition | Rugby Union | Sport

2 months ago

And Jones, who must feel cursed, took another hammer blow when it was confirmed No8 Nathan Hughes will need up to 10 weeks on the sidelines with knee trouble.

The pair’s club, Wasps, said they do not surgery but revealed wing Daly is set for 10 to 12 weeks out of action and Hughes needs between eight and 10 weeks’ rehab.

That schedule puts Daly racing against time to make England’s final two matches of the tournament against France and Ireland on March 10 and 17.

And Hughes will be struggling to make England’s third game of the tournament, against Scotland on February 24.

Jones will assess the latest body count when he gathers his squad for a two-day training camp in Brighton from New Year’s Day.

Daly and Hughes were injured playing in Wasps’ 21-3 Champions Cup win over La Rochelle on Sunday. Daly limped off after 54 minutes having scored two tries and kicked two conversions while Hughes, in his first game back from injury, was replaced after 67 minutes.

On the bright side for Jones, Billy Vunipola should be back in action for Saracens in the next couple of weeks after missing the autumn internationals with a knee injury.

Hughes took over from Vunipola in the back row for England’s first two games of that series before he was injured against Australia and replaced by Exeter’s Sam Simmonds.

During the autumn Jones was without Ben Te’o, Manu Tuilagi, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jack Nowell and Jack Clifford, plus the talismanic Vunipola.

Since then he has lost Leicester prop Ellis Genge to a shoulder injury and Maro Itoje has not played since breaking his jaw playing for Saracens against Harlequins on December 3.

Itoje and Saracens are confident the lock will be back ahead of their next European game against the Ospreys on January 13, putting him in Six Nations contention.

And Nowell made his first start for Exeter last Saturday against Leinster after recovering from a fractured cheek and offers another wing option for Jones with Daly crocked.

Worcester centre Te’o has not played since October because of an ankle injury and will be missing again as his club face London Irish in a relegation scrap at Sixways.

The two clubs are separated by six points at the foot of the Premiership but bottom placed Irish are boosted as they hand former Wallaby hooker Saia Fainga’a his first league start.

The hosts are boosted by the return of No8 GJ van Velze from a rib injury in a match that could decide who gets relegated.