Six Nations

Top three rankings tussle in Dublin

France will fall below Japan for the first time in rankings history if they lose to Italy in Marseilles on Friday.

Those are just two of the possible permutations in the World Rugby Rankings this weekend as the Six Nations and the Americas Rugby Championship continue.

Round three of the Six Nations kicks off on Friday with France’s encounter with Italy in Marseilles, followed by Saturday’s double bill featuring Ireland versus Wales and Scotland against England.

Henshaw ruled out of Six Nations

Henshaw appeared to dislocate his shoulder as he scored his second try of the comfortable win in Dublin, the Leinster back leaving the field with his injured right arm in a sling.

Coach Joe Schmidt had hoped there would be good news about the centre, but scans on Monday confirmed Henshaw would need an operation.

The 24-year-old has already had surgery to correct the problem but that means he will play no further part in the tournament.

Care to make England history

Youngs has been ruled out for the remainder of the championship after suffering a knee injury in the opening-weekend win in Rome.

The Leicester Tigers star was taken off early in Sunday's encounter, his evident pain souring what proved to be a commanding 46-15 win for England.

Richard Wigglesworth was subsequently added to the squad and is named among the replacements as Care prepares to overtake Matt Dawson with his 78th England appearance.

Te'o, meanwhile, drops to the bench, with Bath man Joseph preferred at outside centre.

Baldwin ruled out of Six Nations

The Ospreys hooker, who last year was bizarrely sidelined after being bitten on the hand by a lion, was hurt in training and requires surgery that will keep him out of action for five months.

A Wales Rugby Union statement confirmed that Scarlets' Ryan Elias, who has two international caps, has been called up in his place.

Wales are already shorn of several players, with the likes of Sam Warburton, Taulupe Faletau, Dan Lydiate, Rhys Webb, Jonathan Davies, Liam Williams, Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland among their absentees.

Webb ruled out of Six Nations

The halfback, who has 31 caps, was released from the squad on Thursday and the Welsh Rugby Union confirmed he will undergo further assessments "to establish the best course of action".

Webb's setback leaves head coach Warren Gatland potentially without nine senior players ahead of the opening clash at home to Scotland on February 3.

Webb has been replaced by uncapped Cardiff playmaker Tomos Williams but Gatland will be missing a host of experienced names for most, if not all, of the Six Nations.

Scotland star Hogg closes on return with Six Nations looming

The full-back has won the Player of the Tournament award in the past two seasons, and has been a cause for concern since injuring himself in the warm-up of the emphatic 53-24 beating of Australia in November.

However, Hogg is confident that he will be back on the pitch before Scotland's Six Nations opener against Wales on February 3.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, he said: "Hopefully I'll be back on the pitch in the next couple of weeks and ready to rock and roll again.

"We're getting there now.

Warburton to miss Six Nations

Warburton hasn't played since July, when he captained the British and Irish Lions to a series draw in New Zealand.

Following rest, he had neck surgery in September so he could return to club action in the new year and be available for another Six Nations tilt.

But Warburton and the Welsh Rugby Union decided that when he returns he should do so free of all aches and pains, so he had his left knee operated on.

Six Nations: England thrash Scotland to equal rugby world record

Yet England, off color so far in this tournament, dazzled at Twickenham to not only retain their Six Nations title but equal the world record of 18 consecutive Test victories for a Tier One side, set by New Zealand last year.

Mako left out, Watson returns

Vunipola has been out since December with a knee injury and had been expected to return for the Twickenham clash on February 26.

That now appears unlikely, although he could feature for Saracens when they take on Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership on Friday as he looks to prove his fitness.

Northampton prop Paul Hill has therefore been retained but Wasps' Matt Mullan has been left out.

Kruis out of France clash

Kruis, who had only been given the all-clear to face France last week after recovering from a fractured cheekbone, was forced to miss training on Tuesday with the knee injury.

The Saracens lock will see a specialist on Thursday to determine further management of the injury and head coach Eddie Jones is not giving up hope he will be available later in the tournament.

"We'll have to wait and see what the specialist's prognosis is, but we're not ruling him out of the Six Nations at this stage," said Jones.