Raffi Quirke will be out for another 10 weeks

Raffi Quirke’s hopes of forcing his way back into the England squad for the Six Nations championship are being severely hampered following an operation on his broken wrist that will keep him out of action until the end of January.

Scrum half Quirke , who has won two England caps, damaged his wrist against Gloucester and according to Alex Sanderson, the Sale Sharks director of rugby, is currently working on his fitness and kicking game in a bid to return an even better player. Last season he underwent an operation to reattach his hamstring after he ripped it off the bone and was out for six months. Now, the 21-year-old has to deal with another long period of rehabilitation knowing England start their Six Nations campaign against Scotland on February 4.

Sanderson said: “Raffi suffered a broken wrist and it was a relatively nasty break but the operation went well and he is two weeks into a 10-12 weeks period. Every player goes through some kind of injury crisis and it is the biggest test of any athlete – how you respond to this. Is it a set back or a chance to get better? We have good evidence within this organisation that we are able to get them back stronger and I have already had a chat with Raffi about making him super robust.

“When he had his hamstring injury he wasn’t able to work on his fitness just one his upper body strength. No he has broken his wrist the one positive is that he is able to work on his repeat sprints and his kicking game and he will come back better.”

Sanderson has been delighted with the way England have been using Manu Tuilagi and his need to be managed and added: “England have been nothing but transparent about their management of Manu and his overall loading in training and playing. I am happy and feel we are working collaboratively.”

Sanderson revealed he has not continued talks with Manu Tuilagi about a new contract deciding to wait until the Autumn tests are over before returning to negotiations in a bid to keep him at Sale. “I didn’t want to bother him while he is away for King and Country.”

Tom O’Flaherty, the wing who joined this season from Exeter, has had an operation after breaking his jaw against Saracens and Sanderson said: “ He was sore but is now back to being an excited menace around the training ground while Ben Curry is a week away from being fit and should be ready to play against Ulster while George Ford is till on track for being fit by late January.”