England star Earl available for the start of the Six Nations

England back-row Ben Earl will be available for the start of England's Six Nations campaign after Saracens received a positive update on his knee injury.

It was thought Earl would be facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after injuring his right knee during the warm-up for Saturday's Gallagher Premiership match against Harlequins.

Earl, who was one of the stars of England's run to the semi-finals of the World Cup, found out from a scan this morning that damage to his medial meniscus has been repaired and should only be out until January, meaning he'll be match fit for England's Six Nations curtain raiser against Italy in February.

"Ben had a minor knee procedure this morning. We anticipate he'll be out for between four to six weeks. Overall I think that would be a good result," director of rugby Mark McCall said.

Earl made his first start for England during the World Cup warm-up fixtures yet went on to become their best performing player in France, claiming the number eight jersey ahead of the established Billy Vunipola.

However, the 25-year-old faced a heavy workload following England's bronze medal winning campaign and McCall believes he may benefit from the enforced lay-off.

"We're all pleased it's not a serious long-term injury. I think he will be playing in the month of January," McCall said.

"There are three or four games in January so that would be ample time for Ben to get in.

"He's had a busy time with a lot of minutes in August, September and October, so to have a six-week period not playing rugby might actually be good for him in the long run."

Another England star, Elliot Daly, pulled up in the warm up for the same game with a hamstring issue, but he should be back in the Saracens XV for the game against Northampton on December 2.

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