England's new 'headache' ahead of Boks test
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: England captain Dylan Hartley will miss the remainder of the 2017/18 season as well as the tour to South Africa because of a concussion.
The Northampton Saints hooker sustained the injury in the Six Nations match against Ireland last month and has not played any competitive rugby since.
Following specialist medical advice, Hartley will take an extended period of rest over the summer with a view to starting Saints’ pre-season training.
"I’m very disappointed that I will not be available for selection for Saints’ remaining Premiership games, as well England’s tour to South Africa," said the 32-year-old.
"It has been recommended by specialists that I take a break this summer and while I find that decision hard to accept, it’s important I listen to that advice.
"I intend to use this time to recover fully from my injury, so I can be ready to hit the ground running when pre-season training starts later this summer,"
Jonathan Joseph will also miss England's challenging tour of South Africa due to a foot injury he suffered in Bath's 6-41 Premiership defeat to Saracens.
Anthony Watson, also of Bath, is already sidelined from the tour because of an Achilles' injury.
Knee injuries, meanwhile, look set to remove lock Courtney Lawes and No.8 Nathan Hughes from the South Africa tour which includes Tests on June 9, 16 and 23.
England last toured South Africa in 2012 losing the first two Tests before drawing the final match.