Billy Vunipola, seen here in action against the Springboks in June, has sustained a broken arm.. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – He has just lost lock Joe Launchbury, and now England coach Eddie Jones is sitting with more injury headaches ahead of the showdown with the Springboks next month.

Wasps captain Launchbury has undergone knee injury that will keep him sidelined for three months after he got hurt against Leicester in September.

Now there are bigger problems for Jones ahead of the November 3 date with Rassie Erasmus’ Springboks at Twickenham, as giant No 8 Billy Vunipola has been ruled out with injury yet again.

Vunipola suffered a broken arm while playing for Saracens against Glasgow Warriors in the European Champions Cup at the weekend, and the English club said in a statement on Monday that the ball-carrying loose forward will be out for around 12 weeks.

Jones’ issues don’t end there, though, as loosehead prop Mako Vunipola sustained a calf strain in the same match, with Saracens saying that “his progress will be monitored”.

Young lock Nick Isiekwe has an ankle strain, while star second-rower Maro Itoje – who can also operate at flank – and hooker Jamie George had their noses broken in the 13-3 win in Glasgow on Sunday.

Even stalwart back Owen Farrell wasn’t spared, taking a knock to the knee, although he should be okay ahead of Saturday’s clash against Lyon.

In stark contrast, Erasmus is able to rest all his senior Boks such as captain Siya Kolisi and lock Eben Etzebeth during the Currie Cup playoffs after a gruelling Rugby Championship campaign, and they will be fresh for the end-of-year tour.

The Bok coach, though, will be holding thumbs that overseas-based players such as Willie le Roux, Faf de Klerk, Cheslin Kolbe and Duane Vermeulen come through the next few weeks unscathed.



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