England prop Joe Marler has fractured his lower leg while playing for Harlequins and is set to miss the start of the Six Nations in February.
The loose-head, 26, is expected to be fit in four to five weeks, leaving him highly likely to be out for England’s opener against France on 4 February.
Marler has made 46 Test appearances for England since his debut in 2012.
He adds to a lengthy injury list for coach Eddie Jones, which includes fellow Quins man Chris Robshaw.
Jones led the side to a Grand Slam in 2016 but the Australian has a number of injury worries going into this year’s tournament:
Captain Dylan Hartley, who is suspended until 23 January, will also need to prove his fitness before the competition starts.
Chris Jones, BBC Radio 5 live rugby union reporter
After barely having to deal with an injury at the start of his time in charge, England boss Eddie Jones is now experiencing what many of his predecessors did, with Marler the latest in a long line of setbacks.
With Mako Vunipola also out, England have lost two outstanding loose-heads, and the back-up is inexperienced. Matt Mullan heads the queue from Nathan Catt and the impressive Leicester tyro Ellis Genge.
Jones has the resources to cope with any injury crisis, but will desperately hoping the likes of Joe Launchbury, George Kruis, James Haskell – as well as captain Dylan Hartley – can prove their match fitness ahead of the tournament opener against France.
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