Saracens have suffered a blow with the news that their England lock Maro Itoje will be absent for their busy Christmas schedule.


Itoje is expected to be out “for a number of weeks” after suffering a knee injury.

The 24-year-old took a knock whilst on international duty with England and scans have revealed a chip in his patella.

Itoje’s return date has not been set, but it’s a busy period of rugby for Sarries- after their Champions Cup double header with Cardiff they face a top-of-the-table clash with Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on December 22nd, with Worcester Warriors at Allianz Park a week later. They then play Sale Sharks on January 4th at the AJ Bell.

There is better news on prop Mako Vunipola, he has recovered from his calf strain and will start for Saracens against Cardiff Blues on Sunday as Sarries look to make it three wins from three in Pool 3.

Director of Rugby Mark McCall confirmed that another of his locks, George Kruis, is a week away from being back in contention after his calf injury. Their luckless number 8 Billy Vunipola (arm) is estimated to back for Rounds 11-12 of the Gallagher Premiership, which would be the games against either Worcester or Sale.


Vunipola broke his right arm against the Ospreys in January and suffered the same injury again on England’s summer tour to South Africa and had a plate inserted to try and solve the problem. He then broke his left in October against the Glasgow Warriors.

Liam Williams (hamstring), David Strettle (foot), Hisa Sasagi (groin), Hayden Thompson-Stringer (hamstring) and Duncan Taylor (knee) are the club’s other injury absentees.

Saracens team to face Cardiff Blues at Allianz Park in the Heineken Champions Cup on Sunday 9th December (KO 13H00):

15 Alex Goode
14 Sean Maitland
13 Alex Lozowski
12 Brad Barritt ©
11 Alex Lewington
10 Owen Farrell
9 Richard Wigglesworth


1 Mako Vunipola
2 Jamie George
3 Vincent Koch
4 Nick Isiekwe
5 Will Skelton
6 Mike Rhodes
7 Schalk Burger
8 Jackson Wray

16 Tom Woolstencroft
17 Richard Barrington
18 Christian Judge
19 Dom Day
20 Calum Clark
21 Ben Earl
22 Ben Spencer
23 Nick Tompkins

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