England have suffered yet another injury blow after prop Kyle Sinckler was forced to leave the squad's training camp in Portugal.
Sinckler arrived in Vilamoura on Monday afternoon with a possible hamstring strain and has been replaced by Henry Thomas of Bath.
“Kyle will undergo further assessment and treatment with his club Harlequins this week,” a statement released by England said.
The setback leaves Exeter's Harry Williams as the next in line to deputise for Dan Cole, the first-choice tighthead who will start the Six Nations opener against Italy on Sunday week.
It could be a major blow for Sinckler, who on Saturday was given the full backing of head coach Eddie Jones.
The 24-year-old emerged as a prop with a promising future during last year’s British and Irish Lions tour but has since lost his way in a slump that reached its nadir when he was banned for seven weeks in October for gouging.
“Now is the test for him – how much he really wants it – otherwise he’s going to become a pantomime character,” Jones said.
“He has got to show he really wants to be a Test prop and we are going to back him a hundred per cent and give him every opportunity because he’s a good kid. I’m going to back him to come through.”
England have lost a succession of props for at least a chunk of the Six Nations and have been most badly hit at loosehead, where they are missing Joe Marler, Matt Mullan, Ellis Genge and Beno Obano.
They are now without 15 players for the start of the tournament after shoulder injury-victim Henry Slade was on Monday added to a list that already includes Billy Vunipola, Nathan Hughes and Elliot Daly as absentees.