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Aviva Premiership
Foden ruled out of autumn internationals
ESPN Staff
September 20, 2012
Northampton's Ben Foden receives treatment for an ankle injury, Bath v Northampton, Aviva Premiership, The Rec, Bath, September 14, 2012
Ben Foden receives treatment on his ankle injury during last Friday night's clash with Bath © Getty Images
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Ben Foden has been officially ruled out of England's end-of-year internationals after it was confirmed that he requires surgery on an ankle injury.

The 27-year-old limped out of Northampton's Aviva Premiership victory over Bath last Friday with initial reports suggesting he would be out of action for "a number of weeks". But following further assessment he is now set to go under the knife for a procedure that will sideline him for "10-12 weeks" and force England into a re-think ahead of their clashes with Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

Foden won the last of his 30 Test caps against South Africa in June and has been an ever-present during head coach Stuart Lancaster's tenure but the England boss is confident his side can weather the blow with Quins' Mike Brown and Saracens' Alex Goode - who both started Tests at fullback in the recent series against the Springboks - the leading contenders for the No.15 shirt..

"It is unfortunate for Ben who has had a good run in the side and is a valuable leader," Lancaster said in a statement. "But we have a number of back three players who are playing well and this offers a chance for them. Our medics will work closely with Northampton Saints to help Ben's recovery and I am sure he will be available for the Six Nations."

The in-form Foden is also set to be miss several games for the Saints including the start of their Heineken Cup campaign with director of rugby Jim Mallinder admitting it is a blow. "Ben had been playing well at the start of this season and to lose him to injury is obviously disappointing," he said. "But we know that he is a dedicated professional and will work his hardest with our Performance team to come back as a better and fitter player.

"In the meantime Ben's injury will give opportunities for the other back three players like James Wilson, Scott Armstrong and Noah Cato to show what they can do in the Saints first team."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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