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Saracens update: Nick Isiekwe a doubt for 2023 Six Nations start

By Liam Heagney
England's Nick Isiekwe (Photo by Jason McCawley/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Saracens boss Mark McCall has provided an update on the length of time that England lock Nick Isiekwe will be missing from the game. The 24-year-old featured off the bench against Australia on July 16 in the tour series decider in Sydney but bad news emerged 47 days later when his Gallagher Premiership club revealed he needed an unspecified surgery and would be absent for several months.

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“Saracens can today confirm that Nick Isiekwe will undergo surgery this week,” read the club statement. “During a routine appointment and after discussion with a consultant, it has been recommended to carry out a procedure. The surgery will keep him out of action for several months. We will update further regarding his return to action during the rehabilitation process.”

Asked about Isiekwe at his midweek Saracens media briefing ahead of this Saturday’s Premiership visit to London rivals Harlequins, McCall steered clear of stating the precise nature of what was wrong with the second row but confirmed that his layoff was anytime between three and five months.

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That worst-case scenario would rule the Saracens forward out of the start of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations with England, quite a blow when it is considered that Isiekwe got his first look-in in 2022 after being outside the Test squad since a short-lived first start in 2018 away to South Africa.

“He’s alright and he will be out for a period of time and it is not for me to say why that is the case but he will be out and we will miss him. He is a great player. We are looking around but we haven’t found anything yet.

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“We don’t have an exact (comeback) date but we have got an estimation which is between three and five months I think,” added McCall about the lock, who debuted on the 2017 England tour to Argentina and was a replacement the following November versus Samoa at Twickenham. He then toured South Africa in June 2018 but was hooked just 36 minutes into his first start and was left waiting until February 2022 to get capped again.

There were four Six Nations appearances, three as a starter, and then another run as a sub on tour in Australia, bringing his caps tally up to eight. “He came off the bench in the third Test and did really well in that game but Nick is a young man, he is just 24 and he will be back,” reckoned his Saracens boss.

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Tim 12 hours ago
'It’s a mental thing': Joe Schmidt on the Wallabies' flyhalf issues

Ben Donaldson had not played Super Rugby for the past eight weeks. Surely, he was playing Shute Shield for Randwick in that time to keep up the fitness…?? Eight weeks is a long break to be thrust in against a hungry skillful side like Georgia who deserve to be in the “7 Nations”. (Italy, Wales & Scotland v Georgia, can’t wait to see those ones). In the second test against Wales, Donaldson was put on for nine minutes. That was a mistake from the coaching team, who already knew he was starting the following week against Georgia. They should have put him on for 20-25 minutes, with Nick Whyte at halfback, and their combination from the Force would have flowed. Donaldsons first 20 minutes against Georgia was a shocker. However, well done to Joe Schmidt for keeping him out there because Donaldsons game improved as the rust came off, he was hammered a few times and handled it and he came into his groove. He made mistakes which they will all learn from. Ben Donaldson is a naturally talented rugby player who the Wallabies have to stick with at no.10. “Over the black Dot-aldson” is a good nick name for him with his awesome goal kicking style. It looks as though, off the boot, it’s going to hit the post. Then it just curves in beautifully every time, once he is in the groove. Donaldsons play this season for the Force, with Kurtley and co., was amazing to watch. Kurtley making one of the best comebacks in history. Donaldson has to be played consistently with Flash Gordon, Big LEN, McReight, Tupou, Kellaway. Oh, that’s right, there is Bell, Kerevi, Petaia (This list does go on a bit). Donaldson will be slotting these weapons into gaps, and into the clear, before we know it… One more thing which I will just assume is happening, just include JOC in the Wallabies squad. He is a rugby genius. His skills, wisdom and experience would be infectious around the Wallabies relatively inexperienced backline. JOC has mastered the art of all the positions long ago. JOC is so skilled and match fit atm taking THE REDS, at no.10, within a point of beating Wales. He can come off the bench and slot into the backline for the Wallabies at 10, 12, 13 or 15 at any stage of a test match. Ummm yeah, not bad… I am assuming that BIG JOE, Laurie “Gandalf” Fischer, Mike “The scrum Doctor” Cron and the team obviously already know all this. I am just a passionate rugby union supporter, and I am very happy that these guys are in charge of the coaching duties, what a coaching team the Wallabies have been blessed with. (Good luck with selecting the match day 23 when Will Skelton, who was playing amazing rugby for La Rochelle, and the boys return from Europe/Japan, Samu Kerevi…???) Now just imagine having Bernie Larkham, Toutai Kefu, Nathan Grey and John “Nobody” Eales as your coaching apprentices… GO AUSTRALIAN RUGBY… Doing a great job Phil Waugh, Joe Roff, Dan Herbert and the team. An amazing three years ahead. GO THE WALLABIES… GO THE WALLAROOS… GO THE 7’s in Paris…

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