England scrum-half Ben Youngs will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery, his club Leicester Tigers has revealed.
Youngs had started every game of England’s Six Nations campaign but came off injured in the final match as they drew with Scotland in a pulsating encounter at Twickenham.
The announcement will be a further concern at scrum-half for Eddie Jones, who is already monitoring Wasps’ Dan Robson after he was sidelined with blood clots in March.
Leicester did not divulge details of Youngs’ problem but admitted the No. 9 will miss their last five crucial Gallagher Premiership matches as they battle to avoid relegation from English rugby’s top tier.
Geordan Murphy’s side sit just five points clear of bottom club Newcastle Falcons at the business end of the regular season, which finishes in mid-May before the Premiership Final takes place on June 1.
A day later England will play the Barbarians at Twickenham before the build-up to the World Cup begins in earnest later in the summer with warm-up matches against Wales at Twickenham (Aug. 11), against the same opposition at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium a week later (Aug. 17), against Ireland back at Twickenham (Aug. 24) and versus Italy at Newcastle’s St James’s Park (Sept. 6).
Youngs, 29, made his international debut in 2010 and has gone on to earn 85 caps for England, putting him joint fourth alongside Lawrence Dallaglio, Rory Underwood and Dan Cole.
He was part of the England World Cup squads in 2011 and 2015 and has since been a stalwart in Eddie Jones side.
He was also part of the successful British & Irish Lions tour of Australia in 2013.