England Rugby have had a rather successful 2017.
They were once again crowned Six Nations champions earlier this year, and they then topped off the season with a very successful autumn international break, picking up three wins from three.
All plans will be for the 2018 season now, with just a month left of the calendar year, but Eddie Jones has been dealt a cruel blow going into the New Year.
Maro Itoje has suffered a broken jaw and could be a doubt for the start of England’s Six Nations campaign that kickstarts in February.
The England and British and Irish Lions lock was injured in a collision with Mike Brown as Saracens lost out 20-19 to Harlequins in Sunday’s Aviva Premiership clash at The Stoop.
Saracens have confirmed Itoje’s injury as a fractured jaw, and the 23-year-old will now undergo further testing to determine his recovery period.
England launch their Six Nations title defence against Italy in Rome on February 4, leaving Itoje two months to be fit to contest selection for Eddie Jones’ side.
“Scans have confirmed that Saracens forward Maro Itoje fractured his jaw in Sunday’s round 10 Aviva Premiership clash against Harlequins,” read a Saracens statement.
“The 23-year-old England forward left the field in the 48th minute of Saracens’ 20-19 defeat at the Twickenham Stoop and was taken to hospital where scans confirmed the fracture.
“Itoje will now see a second specialist later this week to confirm his return to play schedule.”
Now although it's still two months until the start of the Six Nations, due to the severity of the injury, Itoje could be set to sit out of the tournament opener with the Italians.
Jones and co. will continue to monitor his recovery closely, but as things stand, he's looking unlikely.