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Exclusive: Launchbury injury length revealed

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EXCLUSIVE: True extent of Launchbury absence revealed and it's not good news for England

England have suffered another shattering blow with Wasps captain Joe Launchbury ruled out for 12 weeks after opting for surgery to solve a recurring knee problem.

As RugbyPass revealed yesterday, an injection aimed at solving the pain in his knee had failed and surgery was going to be the only option, ruling Launchbury out of England’s November tests against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia. It also means that Launchbury could be struggling to be match fit for the start of the Six Nations championship.

With club mate Dan Robson facing up to 14 weeks out of the game following the ankle surgery he will undergo today, both England and Wasps have lost two key members of their squad. Wasps No.8 Nathan Hughes will be joining the “not available” list of players for club and country with his ban for punching Gloucester’s Lewis Ludlow to be revealed next week, along with any action that could follow his “what a joke” tweet from the Rugby Football Union hearing this week which was halted because of an “issue”.

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Wasps have only just got England flanker Brad Shields back from a broken cheekbone and he is in the team to face holders Leinster in tonight’s opening match of the Heineken Champions Cup in Dublin.

England head coach Eddie Jones has now lost his most effective mauling lock with Launchbury recognised as the best “ maul destroyer” in the sport. It means England will lack second row bulk for their four game November assignment and the Saracens trio of Maro Itoje, George Kruis and Nick Isiekwe plus Northampton’s Courtney Lawes are the contenders for those matches.

England have faced a series of set backs with Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Sam Simmonds, Ellis Genge, Ben Te’o and Beno Obano all currently battling back from serious injury while Joe Marler has retired from test rugby.

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EXCLUSIVE: True extent of Launchbury absence revealed and it's not good news for England