England Under-21 prop Matt Hampson is reported to be in a critical but stable condition after undergoing four hours of surgery for a serious neck injury.
The Leicester forward was transferred to the national spinal injuries centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire on Wednesday after being badly hurt in a training accident.
Hampson had been involved in a scrummaging session with the England Under-21 squad in preparation for their RBS 6 Nations fixture against Scotland at Northampton's Franklin's Gardens on Friday.
A statement from Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust read: ''Matt Hampson was admitted to Stoke Mandeville Hospital specialist spinal surgery on Wednesday evening.
''His operation lasted for more than four hours and he is now in intensive care at the hospital. His condition is critical but stable.''
Hampson, 20, was initially admitted to Northampton General Hospital after the incident on Tuesday and is due to return there for further treatment in due course.
He was moved to Stoke Mandeville for the operation to reduce and stabilise the fracture in his neck.
It was announced earlier on Thursday that the match would go ahead as planned despite the injury suffered by Hampson.
''Further to the injury sustained by Matt Hampson on Tuesday, we consulted with Matt's parents and asked them if they wished the game to continue,'' said England Under-21 team manager Pete Drewett.
''They have left the decision to the players, who unanimously decided that they wanted to play the game as a tribute to Matt, and each player will wear the letters 'MH' under their
England Under-21 insignia.
''Our thoughts remain with Matt and his family at this difficult time, and our aim now is to put in a good performance for him and his parents on Friday night.''
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.