Lengthy lay-off for Foden

Thu, 20 Sep 2012 22:39
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England fullback Ben Foden has been ruled out of his country's forthcoming internationals.

England fullback Ben Foden has been ruled out of his country's forthcoming internationals after the Northampton star learned he will need surgery on damaged ankle ligaments.

Foden suffered the injury playing for Northampton against Bath last Friday and he is expected to be sidelined for up to three months.

That gives Foden no chance of featuring when England face Fiji on November 10 - before also hosting Australia, South Africa and New Zealand on consecutive Saturdays at Twickenham.

Foden has been a key member of the England team since making his international debut in 2009, appearing in 27 of the last 28 Test matches and head coach Stuart Lancaster admits the injury is a significant blow to the player.

"It is unfortunate for Ben who has had a good run in the side and is a valuable leader," Lancaster said.

"But we have a number of back three players who are playing well and this offers a chance for them."

Mike Brown and Alex Goode both started Tests at fullback on England's tour of South Africa and will be the leading contenders for the No.15 jersey.

Brown started the first Test defeat before being ruled out of the tour with a broken hand, opening the way for Goode to make his full debut in the drawn third Test in Port Elizabeth.

If Foden is sidelined for 12 weeks, he could also miss the first four of Northampton's European Cup group matches against Glasgow, Castres and the back-to-back fixtures with Ulster.