RUGBY

Rugby: England's Simmonds facing six months on sidelines

Rugby: England's Simmonds facing six months on sidelines

Alessandro Bianchi

REUTERS

After tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, backrower Sam Simmonds is now a doubt for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

England backrower Sam Simmonds is facing six to nine months on the sidelines due to a serious knee injury sustained while paying for the Exeter Chiefs on Saturday, casting doubt over his chances of playing at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

The No 8 ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in last week's Premiership victory over Worcester Warriors.

On Wednesday, Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter confirmed that Simmonds will miss all four of England's autumn internationals and the Six Nations, which starts in February.

"We'd like to hope we can maybe see him before the end of the season but it's going to be touch and go," Baxter said. "Obviously he is upset. He was looking forward to having a big season."

World Cup doubt

There are fears that the 23-year-old could be out of action for up to nine months, leaving him just the four Rugby World Cup matches to prove his fitness to England's head coach, Eddie Jones.

With the World Cup due to begin on 20 September, there is still a chance for the backrower to force his way back into England's team.

However, with upcoming matches against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia, Simmonds' injury is a big blow for Jones' team.

Billy Vunipola, Nathan Hughes and Bath's youngster Zach Mercer are the most probable options to replace the forward.

This season, Simmonds has scored five tries for Exeter, helping them win all of their five Premiership matches.

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