sport

England props to miss Tests

England coach Stuart Lancaster will be without key front-row duo Dan Cole and Mako Vunipola for this autumn's QBE Internationals.

England will tackle New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa and Australia at Twickenham as they ramp up their preparations for next year's World Cup.

However neither Cole nor Vunipola will play a part in the Tests after being ruled out of contention by their clubs.

Cole, who had surgery on his neck, is not expected to be back playing for Leicester until the end of November at the earliest.

Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: "Coley has had the all-clear from the surgeon to ramp up his training and that was a week ago. He should be fit about 12 weeks from that date, so we're hoping Dan will be playing again in 10 or 11 weeks, but we will see.

"We will give him as much time as he needs. The disc that has been replaced will be stronger than the one he had in there in the first place.

"We will listen to the specialists to make sure that when he comes back, he is good to go. It would be nice to have him back within the 12-week timescale but if it's a month later, two months later or he doesn't play until April, it is what it is.

"It's far more important that he gets his neck absolutely right rather than come back a bit early and have issues with it. Stuart Lancaster is very sensible about it. Coley will be ready to play when the specialist deems he is ready and not before.

"The disc has been replaced. It is a metal disc - there's a plate and a ball-and-socket joint inside. He has been letting the bone heal and has done nothing at all for a few months, but now he can start doing some cycling, some running, some light weights and gradually build himself back up."

Fellow prop Vunipola is currently recovering from a knee injury and is unlikely to be playing again before November.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said: "Mako has an injury from the European final. He'll be out for a while - until November possibly. But he has no chance for the autumn internationals."