Eddie Jones has been dealt another injury blow ahead of the 2016 Six Nations after second-row’s Dave Atwood and Ed Slater were both ruled out of the tournament after picking up injuries whilst playing for their clubs.
Jones has already seen the likes of Henry Slade, Jonny May, Kieran Brookes, Alex Corbisiero and Dave Ewers ruled out of the Six Nations. Now he will have deal with another double injury blow to two of his biggest and most powerful locks.
The Australian coach names his England Rugby squad for the 2016 RBS Six Nations on Wednesday 13th January and this latest raft of injuries will certainly force him to rethink some selections.
Atwood’s Six Nations chances gone
Bath lock Atwood narrowly missed out on selection for the 2015 World Cup despite several strong performances over the past 18-months for England; now he has been ruled out of the Six Nations because of a bulging disc in his neck.
Bath Director of Rugby, Mike Ford, offered an update on the 28-year-old’s injury saying: “Dave’s having surgery today.
“So he’ll be out for a while. He’s trapped a nerve and has a bulging disc in his neck. His Six Nations chances are gone. It will be anything between 10 and 12 weeks.”
Slater out for two months
Slater damaged medial ligaments in his left in Saturday’s Aviva Premiership clash with Saracens. Tigers coach Richard Cockerill said “It’s not too bad. But it’ll probably be six to eight weeks. Not ideal.”
The time-span effectively rules the 27-year-old out of the 2016 Six Nations. It is another blow for the lock who missed nine months of action last year and only recently returned to action. Despite the fact he has never won a senior cap, Slater was touted as a possible outsider for the England captaincy.
While these injuries are unfortunate for the players themselves and the team, it will open the door for the likes of Maro Itoje and George Kruis to make their mark on the international stage.
Eddie Jones and England face two huge matches at Twickenham during the Six Nations. First off they face defending champions Ireland (Saturday 27th February) in what is sure to be a high-class encounter.
That game is followed by a clash with Wales (Saturday 12th March) as England seek to avenge their World Cup loss against one of their bitter rivals.