Alex Corbisiero's injury, which will keep him out of the Six Nations, is a big blow for the England squad, says Jamie Hosie.
Over the autumn, Corbisiero returned to the line-up for the last two matches and the scrum was significantly bolstered. He was becoming a key part of a front five that, had it become settled, would have been able to challenge the best in the world.
They proved this when they played the South Africans, and more than held their own. Coincidentally or otherwise, that was the game that Corbisiero returned to the team.
The unit of Corbisiero, Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Geoff Parling and Joe Launchbury has, in its short life, shown heaps of promise. With the returning Dylan Hartley in the mix, and players like Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler and Mako Vunipola finding form for their club sides, the future looks rosy in this area for the national team.
Sadly, Corbisiero's injury leaves a rather large hole in this unit. While it is not as serious as an injury to Dan Cole - his replacements, Dave Wilson and Henry Thomas, are either average or unproven - it is still a major blow to their chances.