England suffer DOUBLE injury blow after Lions duo Luke Cowan-Dickie and Anthony Watson are ruled out of autumn Tests – with Eddie Jones forced to recall Jamie George after shock snub
- Luke Cowan-Dickie limped out of Exeter’s victory over Wasps at the weekend
- The hooker had a scan on his ankle and is expected to be out until December
- Bath star Anthony Watson has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee
England suffered a shocking double injury blow on Tuesday with Lions Luke Cowan-Dickie and Anthony Watson out of their autumn Tests with long-term issues.
The duo will take no part in the November internationals against Tonga, Australia and South Africa – and Cowan-Dickie’s absence led to a swift re-call for axed stalwart Jamie George.
On Tuesday Sportsmail revealed that Exeter hooker Cowan-Dickie, 28, will miss two months due to an ankle issue.
England’s Luke Cowan-Dickie has been ruled out of the autumn Tests with an ankle injury
And later Bath confirmed Watson had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee against Saracens on Sunday – a blow that usually takes at least nine months to heal, so will rule him out of the 2022 Six Nations and most of the Premiership season.
Cowan-Dickie limped off in Chiefs’ win over Wasps on Saturday, and it is understood a scan on Monday realised fears that the issue was major.
Exeter gave no return date for Cowan-Dickie when confirming Sportsmail’s story but it is understood he is out until at least December.
His withdrawal meant George, snubbed by England boss Eddie Jones in two consecutive autumn squads, earned an immediate reprieve.
The Exeter hooker suffered an ankle problem that will keep him out until at least December
The Saracens forward, 30, was dropped initially alongside George Ford, Mako and Billy Vunipola, but will join England’s training camp in Jersey on Monday.
He will be in prime position to re-gain his No 2 shirt having lost it to Cowan-Dickie with England and the Lions this year.
George has been visibly fired up and scored three tries in two games since he was dropped. With uncapped Nic Dolly, from Leicester, and Newcastle’s Jamie Blamire the other hookers his re-insertion was inevitable after Cowan-Dickie was ruled out.
England replaced Watson too, with Harlequins back Joe Marchant who has six caps and predominantly plays centre.
Watson, 27, left the field on Sunday in Bath’s 71-17 defeat to Saracens having jarred his left leg before contact.
Eddie Jones left Jamie George out of his England squad so this comes as a huge blow
Initially he tried to carry on, desperate to make amends for Bath’s woeful showing at The Rec but then was taken off.
Bath were initially optimistic the problem was not too bad, but after scans and Watson seeking a second opinion from a specialist they confirmed the grim news.
The club’s medical team will now contact a top knee consultant to manage Watson’s long rehabilitation process.
‘We are all feeling Anthony’s disappointment right now,’ director of rugby Stuart Hooper said.
‘He is a remarkable athlete who will put as much work into his rehabilitation as he does into his on-field performance. We know Anthony will come back stronger from this and we will support him every step of the way.’
Bath confirmed Anthony Watson had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee
Watson twice ruptured his Achilles in 2018 – first in March that year during the Six Nations, then again treading on an American Football during a commercial shoot months later – but made a full recovery to star at the 2019 World Cup where England made the final.
His absence from the England squad will surely lead to a run of games for Newcastle’s Adam Radwan, the rapid 23-year-old wing who scored a hat-trick on his debut against Canada in July.
England confirmed the story, broken on Mail Online on Tuesday, and called up George in Cowan-Dickie’s place.
Ahead of Tests against Tonga, Australia and South Africa next month uncapped Nic Dolly, from Leicester, and Newcastle’s Jamie Blamire, who won two caps against USA and Canada last summer, were only remaining options before George’s recall.
The Saracens hooker was a shock omission from Jones’ squad, along with team-mates Mako and Billy Vunipola and Leicester’s George Ford.
But he is back in and will join the England squad in Jersey from Monday next week.
ENGLAND’S INJURY LIST