Northampton lock Courtney Lawes will miss England’s autumn schedule with an ankle injury that will keep him out for about 12 weeks.
As Sale saw off Northampton, Saint Lawes went off with an ankle injury nine minutes into the game, with Shark Tuilagi forced off just minutes later with a torn Achilles which is expected to keep him out for up to six months.
Courtney Lawes, using a protective boot and crutches, had a scan on the injury on Wednesday and is set to see a specialist to determine the full extent of the damage. With George Kruis Japan-bound, Eddie Jones would likely turn to Charlie Ewels to partner Maro Itoje at lock.
Replacing Tuilagi, England’s main ball-carrier in the backs, would be trickier.
England begin their Autumn campaign on October 25 – the day after the Premiership final, so missing players from the knockout rounds of that tournament – against the Barbarians. They then complete their Six Nations campaign in Italy before a four-match Autumn Nations Cup.
Meanwhile, London Irish won their first match since the restart last night, away to Exeter, who played a weakened side as they eye a domestic and European double.
Saracens, who are likely to field their strongest available side against Bath on Sunday in their final Premiership fixture before relegation, lost away to Worcester.
Bristol’s 40-3 victory over Leicester sets up a tasty race for play-off spots in the final round, with Wasps, Bath, Sale and Bristol looking to squeeze into three places.
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