Owen Farrell will miss the 3rd Test against New Zealand in Hamilton after suffering a strain to the medial ligament in his left knee.
Farrell has made the flyhalf position his own in recent times for England and his loss will be a hammer blow for Stuart Lancaster’s men as they look to eke out a win over the All Blacks.
His injury does however open the door for youngster Freddie Burns to add to his 4 caps as well as potentially allowing the mecurial Danny Cipriani a spot on the bench.
Cipriani has been included in the England squad after a lenghty spell in the international wilderness. The former Melboure Rebels man gets his chance to impress when he starts at pivot against the Crusaders in England’s mid-week game
Farrell will stay with the squad for the remainder of the tour before returning home for further assessment and treatment by Saracens in conjunction with the England medical team.
England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster said: “The knee has been scanned and there is a strain there.
“It’s disappointing for Owen as he was desperate to play in the final Test but such is his character that he is already working on his rehab and still contributing to the tour.
“Fortunately we have three other flyhalves to call on and we’ll make that selection call over the next few days.
“The squad trained well this morning and we will narrow down selection over the next 24 hours following the game this evening.”