Six Nations injury latest: Ball, May and Visser doubts to feature
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | January 1, 2016
England’s injury count for their maiden Six Nations campaign under first foreign head coach Eddie Jones may be up to four, after it emerged Gloucester wing Jonny May needs knee surgery.
Despite definitely being without prop Kieran Brooks, back row Dave Ewers and centre Henry Slade, Coral maintain the Red Rose as 15/8 favourites to win the Six Nations for the first time since 2011.
May, 25, has 19 England caps and has been a squad regular since making his senior international debut in 2013. Jones’ debut game in charge is a Calcutta Cup clash away to Scotland at Murrayfield on February 6th.
Ball no longer a lock for Six Nations
Wales’ Jake Ball, meanwhile, has been ruled out for 10 weeks also with a knee injury, meaning the Scarlets lock will miss most of the spring internationals.
The 24-year-old has 15 caps for the Dragons, but damaged his medial ligament is a narrow Boxing Day defeat by Ospreys.
Injuries have been a major issue for the Wales under Warren Gatland recently, and that explains why they are 3/1 chances to regain the Six Nations crown from Ireland, who are their first opponents in this campaign.
Visser out of Calcutta Cup
Scotland wing Tim Visser is also sidelined for six to eight weeks with a hamstring problem sustained while playing for club team Harlequins in the same game as May above.
Dutch-born Visser, 28, has 10 tries for the Tartan team and crossed for Vern Cotter’s crew in the 2015 Rugby World Cup pool stage victory against the USA.
As 16/1 shots to be Six Nations champions, Scotland’s cause is hampered by this injury to a key back row player.
Ross doubtful for Ireland
And finally, despite being buoyed by flanker Sean O’Brien’s new three-year deal with the Irish Rugby Football Union, tighthead prop Mike Ross is set to miss the defending champions’ Six Nations opener against Wales with a hamstring strain.
The veteran, 36, is to miss six weeks, putting Ross’ participation in the game against Wales on February 7th in serious doubt. Ireland have drifted to 5/2 for a third successive Six Nations success.