ENGLAND prop Alex Corbisiero is expected to miss the entire RBS Six Nations championship with a knee injury, according to London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith.
Corbisiero underwent a procedure on Wednesday to clear out a “loose body” on a knee which has been troubling him since the start of England’s summer tour of South Africa.
The initial prognosis from England coach Stuart Lancaster was that Corbisiero would be sidelined for “the first two games [of the Six Nations] as a minimum”.
But Smith told TalkSport last night that Corbisiero will be out for up to ten weeks – and there are doubts over whether he will even play again this season.
“Unfortunately for Corbs he had further surgery. The information our medical team have been given is that it is likely to be a ten-week injury,” Smith said.
“I’d like to think he could get back on the park for us before the end of the season. There are still major question marks about that. He has a significant injury and he needs to be managed well.”
England, who open their Six Nations campaign against Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon, last night called Sale prop Henry Thomas into the squad as “temporary injury cover” for Corbisiero. Thomas will train with England ahead of the Calcutta Cup clash.
Harlequins’ winger Ugo Monye has also been drafted into the 33-man training squad as Freddie Burns remains at Gloucester for treatment, also with a knee problem.
Meanwhile, the RFU also said Shaun Knight has withdrawn from the England Saxons squad as he, too, must return to Gloucester due to a knee injury.
The Saxons convene in Newcastle this morning ahead of their match with Scotland A at Kingston Park on Friday.
France have also suffered a Six Nations blow with the news that they’ll be without back-up flanker Wenceslas Lauret for their opening match against Italy after he sustained a concussion playing for Biarritz against Toulouse on Friday night.
Coach Philippe Saint-Andre called up the uncapped Pierrick Gunther yesterday as Lauret’s replacement. Lauret, who has made three international appearances, had not been expected to start the Sunday’s match.
Saint-Andre is already without first-choice winger Vincent Clerc after he injured his right thigh playing for Toulouse in the same match. The coach has complained about the team’s lack of preparation time for the Six Nations, unhappy that international players are competing in club matches so close to the tournament.
Saint-Andre called up the uncapped Hugo Bonneval to replace Clerc.