England prop Mako Vunipola will miss the remainder of the Guinness Six Nations due to an ankle injury.
Vunipola limped off in the 44th minute of Sunday’s 44-8 demolition of France and watched the rest of the game with ice strapped to his left ankle.
The 28-year-old has been one of England’s standout performers in the championship so far and will return to his club Saracens for treatment.
Vunipola, who is expected to be out for 10 weeks, only just returned to the international stage after missing the Autumn Test matches with a calf injury.
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“It is obviously very disappointing to lose Mako at this stage as he is an important player for us but it does provide an opportunity for the team to grow,” head coach Eddie Jones said.
“He is an important player for us but it does provide an opportunity for the team to grow.”
The prop produced a spectacular individual performance in the 32-20 victory over Ireland, and a strong first-half display against France preceded his injury.
While he will undoubtedly be a huge miss, the injury presents an opportunity to Exeter’s Ben Moon and Leicester’s Ellis Genge.