Prop Phil Vickery will not feature for England during the upcoming RBS 6 Nations after his club Wasps announced he will not be fit for another eight weeks.
The 33-year-old World Cup winner suffered a serious neck injury while playing for Wasps against Racing Metro in the Amlin Challenge Cup in October and required surgery.
Vickery had high hopes of returning at the turn of the year for Wasps and going on to start England’s first 6 Nations clash with Wales on February 6.
However Wasps coach Tony Hanks revealed he has told Vickery to forget his 6 Nations aspirations and focus on next year’s World Cup in New Zealand.
“Phil had pretty major and invasive surgery and his rehab is going well,” said Hanks. “And if it takes an extra two or three weeks to make him right long term, we will do that.
“We don’t want him to finish this season, we want him to have next year as well and the World Cup would be a great way to go out.”