Courtney Lawes will miss the six-game England autumn schedule after being sidelined for twelve weeks by an ankle injury. The Northampton forward, who has won 85 caps, was hurt during Saints’ Gallagher Premiership game against Sale Sharks last week.

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In a statement, Northampton said: “Northampton Saints can confirm that, following consultation between the club’s medical staff and a specialist, Courtney Lawes will undergo surgery on the ankle injury he sustained against Sale Sharks last week. The 31-year-old England lock will require a rehabilitation period of approximately twelve weeks.”

The early outlook last week on Lawes for England was bleak. “Courtney has an ankle injury and it looks pretty ginger. I wouldn’t be overly hopeful of a fast return – he sustained a fairly heavy blow,” said Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd in the immediate aftermath of the game with Sale. “He’ll get a scan. It’s unfortunate for Courtney and maybe in the short term unfortunate for England.”

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Northampton then provided an update, stating: “Saints can confirm that Courtney Lawes sustained an ankle injury in last night’s defeat to Sale Sharks which requires further examination by a specialist next week when the timeframe for his recovery will become clearer.” 

Lawes departed in the ninth minute of the 34-14 loss after falling awkwardly when challenging Tom Curry for a high ball, the Saints second row catching his right ankle in the turf as his body twisted on landing.

Soon after, England midfielder Manu Tuilagi followed Lawes off the pitch having taken a bang to what appeared to be his left achilles during a bulldozing carry out of defence when his team Sale were pinned in their own 22. Tuilagi tore his achilles and is out until April at the earliest. 

Aside from the injuries to the two England players, the Sale visit to Northampton has since become infamous due to the major coronavirus outbreak that followed.

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