England's Sam Underhill is likely to miss the 2019 Six Nations Championship after club side Bath said Friday they expected the back-row forward to be out of action for up to three months following ankle surgery.
Underhill damaged ankle ligaments during Bath's victory against Leicester on December 30.
It was initially thought the 22-year-old had merely rolled his ankle but after seeing a specialist it was decided he needed an operation, that is now set to rule him out until mid-April.
His absence will be a blow to England coach Eddie Jones after Underhill impressed during the November internationals.
"Sam Underhill has had surgery on his ankle and is expected to be out of action for up to three months," said a statement on Bath's website.
England begin their Six Nations campaign -- the last before this year's World Cup in Japan -- away to reigning champions Ireland in Dublin on February 2 and finish the tournament against oldest rivals Scotland at Twickenham on March 16.