Underhill adds to England's Six Nations injury woes

Sam Underhill made his England debut in 2017
Sam Underhill made his England debut in 2017 Adrian DENNIS AFP/File
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London (AFP)

England suffered a fresh setback on Tuesday ahead of their Six Nations defence when Sam Underhill became the latest player to withdraw from Eddie Jones' squad because of injury.

The Bath flanker has pulled out with a hip problem that could sideline him from the whole tournament.

Underhill, who was in line to start England's competition opener against Scotland at Twickenham on February 6, has been replaced in the squad by Jack Willis.

Tuesday's announcement came just a day after veteran prop Joe Marler withdrew from the set-up to spend more time with his family during the coronavirus pandemic and lock Joe Launchbury was ruled out of at least the first three rounds with a broken leg.

Marler's decision left Ellis Genge as the only capped loosehead prop still in the squad after Mako Vunipola was omitted because of an Achilles injury.

Willis has been promoted from England's 12-strong 'shadow squad' and will compete with Mark Wilson and Ben Earl for the vacancy created by Underhill's absence.