Maro Itoje has conceded defeat in his battle to be fit for the climax to England’s Six Nations campaign against Scotland on Saturday.
Itoje last week suffered a setback in his recovery from the knee ligament damage sustained against Ireland on the opening weekend of the tournament and has been omitted from a 31-man training squad named for the final-round fixture at Twickenham.
“Maro Itoje has returned to his club Saracens to continue to rehabilitation,” the Rugby Football Union announced.
Head coach Eddie Jones was non-committal when asked about Itoje after Saturday’s 57-14 rout of Italy, declaring “we’ll just wait and see”, but the second row’s championship is now definitely over with only 53 minutes played.
It was hoped that he would return to face Italy only to injure the same right knee that was hurt in Dublin during a forwards drill in training last week.
England head into the final round of matches still with a chance of winning the Six Nations.
They are second in the table, one point behind Wales, who face Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday searching for their first Grand Slam since 2012.