England prospect Beno Obano has been ruled out for up to a year after Eddie Jones’ Brighton injury curse struck again.
Two months after it was announced that Sam Jones, another uncapped rookie tipped for Test recognition, must retire after being stricken during a training camp held on the south coast, news emerged on Friday of the severity of Obano’s knee problem.
The Bath prop sustained multiple ligament and hamstring tendon damage late last week as England prepared for Sunday’s non-cap international against the Barbarians at Twickenham.
It is the latest twist in a roller-coaster 2018 for the elder cousin of Maro Itoje, who broke into Jones’ wider NatWest 6 Nations squad in January only to suffer a knee issue and then returned to the squad before this latest setback struck.
“While this type of injury is complex and can lead to a 12 month lay-off, we are investing in our medical team over the off-season and we are focused on getting Beno back as soon as possible,” Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder said.
“Beno went for a scan this week and, after consulting with the specialist, will undergo surgery to help repair his injury. This will then be followed by a lengthy spell of rehabilitation.
“We are all feeling Beno’s disappointment. It has been a breakthrough season for him.
“It’s upsetting to see that he will miss this chance to show his class at an international level, especially on the back of picking up two end-of-season club awards. However, I am sure he will be back in the frame in the future.”
Jones, speaking at Friday’s team announcement press conference, gave few details of how the injury was incurred.
“Beno just got caught in a difficult situation and unfortunately he’s got a knee injury. He was doing really well for us and it’s disappointing for him,” Jones said.
It was at a training camp held in Brighton during the build-up to the 2016 autumn series that Jones sustained a horrific multiple injury while engaging in a judo session with Itoje.
Jones suffered an ankle dislocation, a fracture of the fibular bone, a rupture of the medial ligament and significant damage to ankle cartilage and, after numerous operations and several aborted comebacks, a once promising career was declared over.
Obano’s injury follows that of another young England hopeful in Wasps flanker Jack Willis, who incurred significant knee damage against Saracens last weekend and is expected to be out for between nine and 12 months.