Eddie Jones confirmed today that Billy Vunipola will miss the entire Six Nations even though the fractured arm that he suffered last weekend but does not require surgery.
The Saracens back-row suffered a fractured forearm in last Saturday’s 15-15 draw with Ospreys in what was only his second appearance since returning from a four-month knee injury.
With Wasps’ Nathan Hughes also injured, Jones finds himself short of options and as a result named Bath’s Zach Mercer in the squad for the first time after serving a “shorter than planned” apprenticeship over the last six months.
Hughes could yet return in time for the final three games against Scotland, France and Ireland should he recover from the knee injury that he suffered last month.
“Nathan Hughes [will be back] halfway through possibly,” Jones said after naming a 35-man squad for the opening game against Italy.
“He’s probably rehabbing a little bit slower than we first thought, [but] I don’t think we’ll see Billy.”