England prop Mako Vunipola is in a race against time to be fit for the World Cup after being told he needs hamstring surgery.
Vunipola, 28, has been ruled out for at least three months with the injury sustained in Saturday’s Champions Cup final victory over Leinster in Newcastle.
“Vunipola’s hamstring injury requires surgery and will take a minimum of three months to recover,” read a statement issued by his club Saracens.
Saracens were more upbeat over his outlook on Wednesday only for a visit to a specialist to reveal the true extent of the damage.
LATEST RUGBY NEWS
Rugby Australia terminate Israel Folau's playing contract
Saracens lift Heineken Champions Cup after comeback win against Leinster
Tottenham's new stadium to host 2021 European rugby finals weekend
Warren Gatland agrees to become Lions coach for 2021 South Africa tour
Israel Folau guilty of conduct breach over homophobic social media posts
James Haskell: England rugby ace announces he is retiring
“Mako won’t be out of the World Cup, but he’ll be out for a while,” said Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall.
“It’s quite a significant injury. It’s disappointing to lose two players of that quality. It makes us a little bit vulnerable.”
England fly to Japan on September 8 and play their opening match against Tonga two weeks later.
Even if Vunipola’s recovery takes the minimum three months, he will be forced to miss two of the four warm-up matches ahead of the tournament.