Itoje to miss Six Nations matches vs France and Wales

Ireland have been keen to emphasise they are not underestimating England
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Saracens lock Maro Itoje will miss England's Six Nations matches against France and Wales as he is suffering from a knee ligament injury, the Rugby Football Union said on Tuesday.

Itoje, who could return for England's final two matches against Italy and Scotland next month, was replaced by fellow Saracen Nick Isiekwe.

Itoje suffered the injury during Saturday's 32-20 victory over defending champions Ireland, with referee Jerome Garces initially fearing he had broken his leg.

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"Maro had the scan and saw a specialist yesterday (Monday)". Hopefully he'll heal fast and we'll have him back ASAP.

Itoje will remain at the squad's Surrey training base to continue his rehabilitation and in the meantime England must decide how to cover for the loss of a player who coach Eddie Jones believes will soon be recognised as the best lock in the world.

He's a brilliant player and he's a world-class player.

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Itoje was seen on crutches as England celebrated on the pitch after fears he had picked up a serious injury when he was cleared from a ruck by Peter O' Mahoney.

Isiekwe has already stepped in for Itoje, who chipped a bone in his knee on England duty in November but played in all four autumn Tests.

The 24-year-old played 53 minutes during the tournament opening game against Ireland at Aviva Stadium last weekend before limping off the field.

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