Ben Foden will miss the England Autumn internationals after it was revealed the England full-back needs ligament surgery to his right ankle.
Foden, who limped out of Northampton’s clash with Bath last Friday, will be out of action for around 10-12 weeks and could be back for the round three or four of the Heineken Cup against Ulster on December 7 and 15.
England’s Autumn Test series kicks off on November 10 with a match against Fiji on November 10 before facing Australia, South Africa and New Zealand the following three weeks.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: “It is unfortunate for Ben who has had a good run in the side and is a valuable leader. But we have a number of back three players who are playing well and this offers a chance for them.
“Our medics will work closely with Northampton Saints to help Ben’s recovery and I am sure he will be available for the RBS 6 Nations.”
Northampton boss Jim Mallinder said: “Ben had been playing well at the start of this season and to lose him to injury is obviously disappointing.
“But we know that he is a dedicated professional and will work his hardest with our performance team to come back as a better and fitter player.”