6N: England back-rowers Hughes, Lawes to have knee ops

LONDON (AP) England back-rowers Nathan Hughes and Courtney Lawes will undergo knee surgery this week.

No. 8 Hughes is expected to be out for 12 weeks, and flanker-lock Lawes faces 14 weeks of rehabilitation, the England Rugby Union said in a statement on Wednesday.

Both were hurt Saturday when England lost to France 22-16 in Paris and surrendered the Six Nations title.

Hughes was injured when teammate Joe Launchbury and France flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc fell into his left leg, affecting the same knee which sidelined him for eight weeks, including the opening two rounds of the Six Nations.

Lawes finished the match at Stade de France.

Their injuries will effectively rule them out of England’s tour of South Africa in June.

But hooker Dylan Hartley has recovered from a calf injury and is set to captain England against newly crowned champion Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.

Defense coach Paul Gustard said Hartley has played a full role in training.

Also, British and Irish Lions wing Elliot Daly has been passed fit for the final round of the Six Nations after overcoming a foot injury at the Stade de France.