England suffer injury blow as Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder reveals that Courtney Lawes will undergo ankle surgery.
England have been dealt an injury blow as Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder has revealed Courtney Lawes will miss "the first few weeks" of the Six Nations due to an ankle injury.
The influential lock will undergo surgery on Monday to resolve a problem which has kept him sidelined since Northampton's Premiership win over Leicester Tigers last month.
Lawes will miss the Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff on February 6 and it remains to be seen when he will be fit to return.
Mallinder said: "Courtney, unfortunately, has not recovered from his ankle injury,
"He will be going in for a little operation on Monday.
"He has got a little bit of bone that he just needs clearing out, so he is going to miss the first few weeks of the Six Nations, as well as missing next week [Northampton's European Rugby Champions clash with Racing Metro].
"It is just a little bit of bone that chipped off in the Leicester game. He would be expected to get back (playing) while the Six Nations is still going on.
"It is a blow for us because we haven't got him for next week, and it is a blow for him and England because he is a key player."
England have already lost second-row Joe Launchbury for the Six Nations due to a neck injury.