Broken arm ends Vunipola's Six Nations hopes

International
AFP
by AFP

Billy Vunipola is set to miss England's Six Nations campaign after Saracens announced on Sunday that he had suffered a fractured forearm, dealing a huge blow to England coach Eddie Jones' plans.

The English Premiership club confirmed the injury in a short statement on their website, leaving Jones to plan for a likely campaign without the experienced number eight.

"Saracens can confirm that as a result of an injury sustained in Saturday's European Rugby Champions Cup match against Ospreys, Billy Vunipola has fractured his forearm. Vunipola had an X-ray today confirming the injury," the club said.

"Billy is due to see a specialist later this week, when a timeframe for recovery may be defined. But until that time Saracens will make no further comment. Saracens will issue a further statement once Billy has seen a specialist."

Vunipola's layoff comes just after he had made his comeback from a three-month absence with knee trouble, with the 15-15 draw against Ospreys being only his second game since returning.

The injury is a major blow for Jones, who will name his squad on Thursday for the Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome on February 4.

He is already braced for the unavailability of forward James Haskell, who was shown a red card in Wasps' 33-28 Champions Cup defeat to Harlequins on Saturday.

Tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby will convene a disciplinary hearing for 32-year-old Haskell, which is likely to take place in the next few days. He could face a ban of up to six weeks.

FIXTURES

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