In Brief

Six Nations news: England lock Maro Itoje ruled out of France and Wales games

Ireland No.8 CJ Stander also expected to miss the next two rounds

England vs. France

  • What: Six Nations round two 
  • When: Sunday 10 February 
  • Where: Twickenham, London 
  • Start time: 3pm 
  • TV channel: live on ITV

England lock Maro Itoje will miss the Six Nations fixtures against France and Wales but he is expected to return to action before the end of the tournament.

British & Irish Lion Itoje suffered knee medial ligament damage during the 32-20 victory against Ireland on Saturday and he will be replaced in the England squad by Saracens team-mate Nick Isiekwe.

Speaking to the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast, England scrum-half Danny Care said of Itoje: “He’s a world-class player. He’s a guy who gives you an unbelievable amount of energy every defensive and attacking play, he’s in your face, he’s someone teams do not want to play against. 

“He’s a big loss for England. I hope he’s back as soon as possible but there will be other players who can step up to the plate.”

England head coach Eddie Jones has named an initial 35-man squad for Sunday’s match against France at Twickenham. Included alongside Isiekwe are uncapped quartet Jack Singleton, Ben Earl, Dan Robson and Ollie Thorley.

England’s 35-man squad
  • Forwards: Jack Clifford (Harlequins), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Ben Earl (Saracens), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs), Brad Shields (Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) 
  • Backs: Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs), Owen Farrell (Saracens, captain), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Dan Robson (Wasps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Scotland vs. Ireland

  • What: Six Nations round two 
  • When: Saturday 9 February 
  • Where: Murrayfield, Edinburgh 
  • Start time: 2.15pm 
  • TV channel: live on BBC

Ireland have also been hit by injury after No.8 CJ Stander was ruled out of the matches against Scotland and Italy.

Stander suffered facial injuries in the defeat against England and could be out for four weeks, the BBC reports. He hopes to return for the clash against France on 10 March.

Scotland host Ireland at Murrayfield on Saturday and they have called up hooker Fraser Brown and prop Murray McCallum to their squad.

Italy vs. Wales

  • What: Six Nations round two 
  • When: Saturday 9 February 
  • Where: Stadio Olimpico, Rome 
  • Start time: 4.45pm 
  • TV channel: live on ITV and S4C

Italy have called up uncapped Benetton hooker Engjel Makelara to their squad for the clash against Wales in Rome on Saturday.

Makelara is replaced by Oliviero Fabiani while scrum-half Tito Tebaldi has also left the squad because of injury. Edoardo Gori takes Tebaldi’s place.

Wales kicking coach Neil Jenkins told the BBC that there are no fresh injury worries following the 24-19 win against France last Friday.

“Most of the boys have come through without serious injury and I would say everybody will be OK for Saturday,” said Jenkins. “The boys seem OK. It is normal after a Test match with battered and bruised bodies.”

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