Itoje in doubt for Six Nations

by AFP

England and Saracens lock Maro Itoje suffered a broken jaw in a weekend Premiership clash, his club announced on Tuesday, meaning he faces a race against time to be fit for the Six Nations.

The British and Irish Lions player was injured in a collision with Mike Brown as Saracens, third in the Premiership, lost 20-19 to fierce rivals Harlequins in Sunday's match at The Stoop.

Saracens have confirmed Itoje's injury is a fractured jaw and the 23-year-old will now undergo further testing to determine his recovery period.

England launch their Six Nations title defence against Italy in Rome on February 4, giving Itoje two months to be fit to contest selection for Eddie Jones' side.

Maro Itoje in action for Saracens against Harlequins last weekend. Photo: Getty Images"Scans have confirmed that Saracens forward Maro Itoje fractured his jaw in Sunday's round 10 Aviva Premiership clash against Harlequins," said a Saracens statement.

"The 23-year-old England forward left the field in the 48th minute of Saracens' 20-19 defeat at the Twickenham Stoop and was taken to hospital where scans confirmed the fracture.

"Itoje will now see a second specialist later this week to confirm his return to play schedule."

The second row will miss Saracens' upcoming European Champions Cup clashes, with the double reigning champions next facing French side Clermont in back-to-back fixtures.

Itoje was nominated for World Rugby's world player of the year for 2017 after a stunning calendar year that comprised England's Six Nations win, Saracens' second European triumph and the Lions' drawn series with world champions New Zealand.

England opens its Six Nations campaign on February 4 against Italy, kicking off at 3pm local, Monday 1am AEDT.


Six Nations 2018 

Round one

Saturday February 3

Wales vs Scotland, Millennium Stadium, 2:15pm local, Sunday 1:15am AEDT

France vs Ireland, Stade de France, 4:45pm local, Sunday 2:45am AEDT

Sunday February 4

Italy vs England, Stadio Olimpico, 3pm local, Monday 1am AEDT

Round two

Saturday February 10 

Ireland vs Italy, Aviva Stadium, 2:15om local, Sunday 1:15am AEDT

England vs Wales, Twickenham, 4:45pm local, Sunday 3:45am AEDT

Sunday February 11

Scotland vs France, Murrayfield Stadium, 3pm local, Monday 2am AEDT 

Round three 

Friday February 23

France vs Italy, Stade de France, 8pm local, Saturday 6am AEDT

Saturday February 24

Ireland vs Wales, Aviva Stadium, 2:15pm local, Sunday 1:15am AEDT

Scotland vs England, Murrayfield Stadium, 4:45pm local, Sunday 3:45am AEDT

Round four

Saturday March 10

Ireland vs Scotland, Aviva Stadium, 2:15pm local, Sunday 1:15am AEDT

France vs England, Stade de France, 4:45pm local, Sunday 3:45am AEDT

Sunday March 11

Wales vs Italy, Millennium Stadium, 3pm local, Monday 2am AEDT

Round five

Saturday March 17

Italy vs Scotland, Stadio Olimpico, 12:30pm local, 10:30pm AEDT

England vs Ireland, Twickenham, 2:45pm local, Sunday 1:45am AEDT

Wales vs France, Millennium Stadium, 5pm local, Sunday 4am AEDT