England facing flanker crisis for autumn test series
LEICESTER, England (AP) — England is facing a back-row injury crisis for the autumn rugby tests after a fourth openside flanker was ruled out for all four of the country's matches Tuesday.
Mike Williams is out for three months after breaking his arm in a pre-match warm-up drill with English club Leicester on Saturday, joining opensides James Haskell, Jack Clifford and Sam Jones on the sidelines.
England coach Eddie Jones may have to pick Chris Robshaw at openside and switch Maro Itoje from lock to the blindside flank. That would break up the successful second-row partnership between Itoje and George Kruis.
England plays South Africa, Fiji, Argentina and Australia on consecutive Saturdays in November and early December.
It's been a tough week for Eddie Jones, who lost Sam Jones and wingers Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell to injuries during a three-day training camp in Brighton last week. England has been criticized by some club coaches for the physicality of the sessions at the training camp.
Eddie Jones will meet the 12 directors of rugby at England's top-flight clubs at a pre-arranged meeting in London on Thursday.