England have been handed a major boost with the news that Joe Launchbury should be fit to play again before the end of the season.
The Wasps second row has been out of action with a spinal injury that required an operation, and there were fears he might not play again before the end of the current campaign.
That would have left Launchbury in a race against time to prove his fitness ahead of the World Cup, with just the training camp and warm-up games to get up to speed.
However Launchbury believes he will be in action sooner than that, and hopes to feature for Wasps before the end of the season.
“The surgeon was really happy with how the operation went,” he said on Thursday.
“It wasn’t as bad as it was feared at one stage, so we’re looking at a gradual return to training in around 12 weeks.
“For now I’m in the gym and it’s great to be able to concentrate on getting my arm and neck stronger rather than playing through pain.
“I can feel a massive difference already. I’m targeting being back for April and am really looking forward to trying to play my part in Wasps’ campaign.”