Tue 20 Nov 2018 | 08:00

England's worst fears confirmed

England's worst fears confirmed
Tue 20 Nov 2018 | 08:00
England's worst fears confirmed
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INJURY UPDATE: England wing Chris Ashton is unavailable for Saturday’s Test with Australia, because of a calf injury.

The disappointing news was delivered by forwards coach Steve Borthwick.

The 31-year-old returned to the England squad for the November series after a hiatus of more than four years and played in all three Tests this month.

He capped his return by scoring a try in the 16-15 defeat to world champions New Zealand.

However, the former Saracens and Toulon star – who is now at Sale – left the field after just half an hour of last Saturday’s win over Japan and Borthwick confirmed he would not be fit for the Wallabies match.

“Chris was scanned yesterday [Monday] and has been ruled out for a couple of weeks,” said Borthwick.

Borthwick conceded that Ashton – who made his name in league before switching codes in 2007 – will be a major loss to England.

“Chris is a fantastic player who knows his way to the try-line,” Borthwick said.

“He’s been great around the squad the last few weeks.

“It’s very disappointing but it gives an opportunity to another player. We have a lot of good wings.”

Nathan Hughes is back in the squad following the completion of a six-week ban for punching Gloucester flanker Lewis Ludlow and questioning his punishment on social media.

“Nathan’s done well since coming back into camp,” said Borthwick.

“He trained on Friday, trained again Sunday and trained with the team the last couple of days, doing really well. He’s in good shape.

“I think he’s worked really hard on his conditioning. Clearly you’ve got to prepare as well as you possibly can in those circumstances.

“You actually make improvements in lots of areas when you have that opportunity to train like that. And I think Nathan’s worked really hard in this period he’s had off.”

England head coach Eddie Jones – who will be looking to make it three wins from four Tests in November having also scraped a narrow win over South Africa – will name his starting line-up on Thursday.

England squad:

Forwards: Charlie Ewels (Bath), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs), Brad Shields (Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Elliott Stooke (Bath), Sam Underhill (Bath), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons).

Backs: Joe Cokanasiga (Bath), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Piers Francis (Northampton Saints), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

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