Maro Itoje poised to find out his Six Nations fate

Mick Cleary

Saracens and England will learn on Tuesday whether one of their key players, Maro Itoje, will be available for their key European Champions Cup games against Clermont Auvergne in the short-term and the 2018 Six Nations championship in the longer-term after the 23-year-old was referred to a consultant following scans on a facial injury incurred in the Aviva Premiership match against Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday.

Itoje, who featured in two of the three autumn internationals, collided with England team-mate and Quins’ full-back, Mike Brown, shortly after half-time and was led from the field with blood streaming from his mouth.

The fear is that Itoje might have sustained structural damage to the jaw, cheekbone or eye socket. Another England colleague, Exeter Chiefs wing, Jack Nowell, has only just returned to action following two months on the sidelines with a fractured cheek and eye socket.

England open the defence of their Six Nations title against Italy in Rome on February 4.

Saracens are badly in need of a full contingent of players following their last-minute 20-19 loss to Harlequins, their fifth defeat in succession.

Mick Cleary's autumn international series XV

They are back-to-back champions in Europe and will be looking to extend their record 20-match unbeaten run in the competition when they take on last year’s finalists, Clermont Auvergne, at Allianz Park on Sunday before heading to France for the return leg seven days later.

Saracens currently top Pool 2 ahead of unbeaten Clermont following successive bonus point victories over Northampton and Ospreys.

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