Cole out of Six Nations
London - England prop Dan Cole will miss the remainder of the Six Nations because of a neck injury, it was announced Sunday.
The Leicester front-row is suffering from a bulging disc in his neck which has trapped a nerve.
His injury was diagnosed during a training session at St George's Park, the England national football team's Midlands training base, earlier this week.
Cole will now miss England's three remaining Six Nations matches, starting with the Twickenham clash against tournament leaders Ireland this coming Saturday.
"It's massively disappointing for Dan, Leicester and England but the important thing is that this has been diagnosed and that Dan gets the appropriate rest and treatment," said England coach Stuart Lancaster, who had been hoping to name an unchanged side to play the Irish.
The 26-year-old Cole has become something of a mainstay since making his debut off the bench against Wales in 2010.
And the absence of the 48-times capped forward, who also played in all three Tests during the British and Irish Lions 2-1 series win in Australia last year, leaves Lancaster with an unwelcome headache.
Bath prop David Wilson has only just returned to action following a calf injury while Sale's Henry Thomas is still an international novice, with just three England appearances to his name.
"Our medics are working closely with Leicester's to come up with a programme that will ensure Dan returns in the best possible shape," said Lancaster.
"In the meantime, it's great to have David Wilson back, as well as Henry Thomas - who has trained well and came off the bench against Scotland.
"This will be an opportunity to develop experience in this area."
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: "It's very disappointing for us and for England - and obviously for Dan - but his long-term fitness is more important.
"He'll have time to get over this issue and come back when the medical teams are satisfied with his progress," the former England hooker added.