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England receive Maro Itoje boost

Maro Itoje is set to be fit for England's Six Nations opener after Saracens revealed he should return from his broken jaw next month.

The second-rower has been on the sidelines since the start of the month after suffering the injury in Sarries' defeat to Harlequins, undergoing surgery and having two plates inserted in his face.

The reigning European champions had initially feared Itoje could be out for some time, suggesting he could miss the start of next year's Six Nations.

However, after visiting a specialist this week, Itoje has been told he will require a further four weeks of rehabilitation before being able to return to training, meaning England should be able to call on the 23-year-old when they face Italy on February 4.

"Maro is probably three or four weeks away. He went to see the specialist, who said a maximum of six weeks, and he's already done a week and a half," said Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall.

Sarries are hopeful Itoje could even be fit enough to feature in the final two matches of the pool stages of the Champions Cup at the end of January against Northampton and Ospreys.

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