Six Nations

England's Lawes out for up to 12 weeks

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Courtney Lawes (Gallo Images)
Courtney Lawes (Gallo Images)

England forward Courtney Lawes could be out of action for up to 12 weeks following a chest injury, according to club side Northampton.

Lawes damaged a pectoral muscle during England training last week and, as a result, missed the reigning champions' 40-24 Six Nations loss away to Wales.

Now Lawes, capped 87 times by England and capable of playing in both the second and back rows, has been replaced in Eddie Jones' squad by Northampton team-mate David Ribbans for the Red Rose brigade's concluding Six Nations matches against France and Ireland.

If Northampton's prognosis proves correct, the 32-year-old Lawes would be sidelined until late May or early June, ruling him out of the bulk of the Saints' remaining Premiership fixtures this season.

Whether Lawes, capped twice by the British and Irish Lions in Australia in 2017, would then be available for the combined side's upcoming series with world champions South Africa remains uncertain.

"Northampton Saints can confirm that, following consultation between the club's medical staff and a specialist, Courtney Lawes will undergo surgery on the pectoral injury he sustained in England training last week," said a statement issued by the Midlands club on Wednesday.

"The 32-year-old lock will require a rehabilitation period of approximately 12 weeks."

England, fourth in the table, resume their Six Nations campaign against France at Twickenham on March 13 following defeats by Scotland and Wales either side of a win over perennial strugglers Italy.

The Rugby Football Union, England's national governing body, said that some members of Jones' 28-man squad "who have received less playing time during the tournament" will have an opportunity to play for their clubs this weekend.

"This will be an individual decision for each player from a performance perspective and is in line with tournament regulations and Covid-19 protocols," the RFU added.

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