England and Bath wing Anthony Watson looks set to miss the Autumn Internationals after becoming the latest player to suffer a serious injury during a three-day training camp. Rumours were abound on Thursday morning (6 October) that the 22-year-old had sustained a broken jaw in Brighton, and those stories have now been officially confirmed by his club.
"Anthony Watson broke his jaw in the England training camp earlier this week," Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder said in a squad fitness update released prior to tomorrow night's Aviva Premiership clash against Sale Sharks at The Rec. "It's too early for a full medical prognosis on how long he'll be out for, but it's likely he'll miss the Autumn Internationals. He's in great hands with our medical team, and we look forward to seeing him back on the pitch when he's ready."
Watson's injury comes less than a day after it was revealed Sam Jones had fractured his right fibula while grappling with Maro Itoje during a judo session. The Wasps flanker was widely expected to earn his first senior cap at openside against South Africa on 12 November in place of club teammate James Haskell, who remains unavailable for selection due to a long-term toe problem.
Manu Tuilagi has already been ruled out of an Autumn series that will also see England host Fiji, Argentina and Australia at Twickenham, with the injury-prone Leicester Tigers centre plagued by a recurring groin issue. Harlequins back row Jack Clifford will also play no part thanks to an ankle injury that requires surgery and is expected to keep him sidelined for approximately 10 weeks.
Versatile goal-kicker Owen Farrell is another major worry for head coach Eddie Jones, whose superb success since replacing Stuart Lancaster in the aftermath of a wretched 2015 World Cup campaign has been built upon a relatively clean bill of health. The Saracens fly-half, who forms a vital partnership with long-time friend George Ford in England's backline, has not played since the summer whitewash of the Wallabies due to an ongoing back injury.
Jonny May has also yet to make his long awaited return from knee surgery, while influential captain Dylan Hartley has been experiencing back spasms. A multitude of other first-team players have also been dealing with various knocks during the early stages of the season, while Chris Ashton's feint hopes of an international comeback were again scuppered by a 13-week suspension handed down by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) for a biting offence.