England coach Eddie Jones will have to start planning for the absence of another key forward after Harlequins confirmed the blindside flanker will either requite a long period of rehabilitation or surgery to correct a shoulder injury.
Other options include moving either James Haskell or Tom Wood from openside or taking a punt on the uncapped Mark Wilson or Dom Armand who have each been outstanding for Newcastle Falcons and Exeter Chiefs respectively. Nevertheless should the worst be confirmed, it will be another significant blow for England’s defence of their Six Nations Championship.
However, there is better news elsewhere for Jones on the injury front. Openside flanker Haskell is in line to play his first match in nearly six months after being named on the bench by Wasps who face Leicester on Sunday. Haskell underwent toe surgery following England’s summer tour to Australia. Dai Young, the Wasps director of rugby, also confirmed that he expects Joe Launchbury, the second row, to return from a calf injury against Toulouse in the Champions Cup next week while Saracens lock George Kruis, who is out with a broken cheekbone, has been pencilled in to play against Toulon on January 21.
Robshaw was already expected to miss the first game of the Six Nations Championship against France after aggravating an existing shoulder problem against Worcester Warriors on New Year’s Day. The length of his absence will be determined by a visit to a specialist on Monday. If surgery is required then it is unlikely that he will play any part in the Championship.