Mike Williams
Mike Williams is the latest potential openside fill-in to drop out of England contention this autumn Stu Forster/Getty Images

England have been dealt yet another injury blow ahead of their forthcoming autumn International series after Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill confirmed Mike Williams could be sidelined for up to three months with his latest arm injury. The Zimbabwe-born lock was initially thought to be suffering from nerve irritation after colliding with new signing Matt Toomua during a warm-up session that took place prior to Tigers' 34-13 Aviva Premiership victory over former club Worcester Warriors at Welford Road on 8 October.

However, it has now been revealed that Williams, who broke his arm twice in the span of just two months last season, has sustained another break that will rule him out of a significant chunk of Leicester's domestic campaign, in addition to England's Test matches against South Africa, Argentina, Fiji and Australia at Twickenham next month.

"Mike felt he had done something but thought it was just a bang," Cockerill told reporters in a press conference held in advance of Tigers' European Champions Cup opener away to Glasgow this weekend.

"But the medical guys looked at it and Mike was pulled out before the kick off. He is in a cast and will take some specialist advice. But it looks like 8-12 weeks out – not 4-6 because of the history of the injury."

Williams was called up for England duty for the first time in late September, included in both the wider 45-man elite player squad and a condensed party of 37 that was selected to attend a now hugely controversial and high intensity three-day training camp in Brighton where Wasps flanker Sam Jones fractured his leg during a judo session and Bath wing Anthony Watson suffered a broken jaw. However, he will now have to wait until at least next year's Six Nations tournament before earning his maiden cap.

"Mike is bitterly disappointed," Cockerill continued. "You would have thought that had he continued the way he has been doing for the last couple of weeks he would have had a chance to play for England."

The respective injuries sustained by Jones, who is expected to miss approximately five months, and Williams leaves England with something of a selection crisis at openside. Previous incumbent James Haskell remains on the shelf due to a toe problem, while Harlequins' Jack Clifford was also ruled out of the autumn ties after surgery on an ankle injury.

With candidates dropping like flies, towering Saracens phenom Maro Itoje may slide over to seven to join Chris Robshaw and club teammate Billy Vunipola in the back row. Such a move would rely upon Eddie Jones drafting in either Joe Launchbury or Courtney Lawes to partner George Kruis at lock.