Harlequins star Danny Care has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup with a toe injury.
The England scrum-half will undergo surgery later this week after damaging a joint in his left big toe during last weekend’s 19-9 defeat against Wales.
He is likely to be sidelined for six weeks, ruling him out of the initial 30-man squad to be announced by manager Martin Johnson on 22 August.
Johnson said: “We are all hugely disappointed for Danny, who has worked extremely hard and has been an important part of the squad throughout our Rugby World Cup preparations.
“He featured in both warm-up fixtures and was on course for selection, so this injury is really disappointing for him personally and for us as a squad.”
Care, 24, had been tipped to reclaim the England nine jersey from Ben Young after his performances in the warm-up internationals.