Nowell ruled out of NZ tour
England wing Jack Nowell will miss out on the upcoming tour of New Zealand in order to undergo knee surgery.
The 21-year-old Exeter Chiefs star started all five of England's 2013 Six Nations games but will miss out on the summer's action in a bid to regain fitness for next term.
Nowell was handed his England debut in the cauldron of the Stade de France in the tournament opener - but pride turned to agony as Stuart Lancaster's side were edged out 26-24.
The Red Rose improved rapidly over the course of the competition and were only narrowly beaten to the title by Ireland, while Nowell notched his first try during the emphatic 52-11 win in Italy.
But, with a lengthy international career predicted by many, Nowell has opted to undergo an operation aimed at curing a persistent knee problem and will also have a shoulder complaint assessed.
"Jack has a pretty bad shoulder injury," Exeter boss Rob Baxter told the Daily Mail.
"It was going to be hit and miss to get him back in time for the end of the season and he also needs an operation on a long-term knee issue.
"This is an important chance to get on top of that situation; he's had the knee injury for pretty much all of his senior career."
Nowell's absence will intensify the battle for places on the plane to New Zealand with the likes of Marland Yarde, Christian Wade and a seemingly-rejuvenated Chris Ashton vying for inclusion.
England face three Tests against the world champion All Blacks this summer, starting in Auckland on June 7.