England hope to have injured Itoje back for Six Nations title push

Ireland's 2018 was magic but can they begin a World Cup year with another storming Six Nations performance

Maro Itoje is to miss at least a chunk of the Guinness Six Nations due to the knee injury sustained against Ireland on Saturday. Hopefully he'll heal fast and we'll have him back ASAP.

Itoje's absence means Courtney Lawes, who was on the bench during England's 20-32 game against Ireland is likely to be drafted into the XV while Wasps' Joe Launchbury might be drafted in the matchday squad.

Press Association Sport understands that a scan has revealed Itoje suffered a grade two medial ligament tear that usually requires two to four weeks of rehabilitation. He's a big loss for England.

Itoje's Saracens team-mate Nick Isiekwe has been called into England's 35-man training squad ahead of Sunday's match against France at Twickenham.

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"He's a brilliant player and he's a world-class player", England scrumhalf Danny Care, who was not named in Eddie Jones' squad, told BBC's Rugby Union Weekly.

"We approach team selection by picking the team that we want to get the result for that weekend".

Itoje was seen on crutches as England celebrated on the pitch after fears he had picked up a serious injury when he was cleared from a ruck by Peter O' Mahoney.

England's players were allowed to return home on Sunday afternoon and Wilson found himself looking after his two children rather than basking in a hero's welcome in his home town of Newcastle.

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