CONFIRMED: England star out of Wales clash
SQUAD UPDATE: England will again be without star forward Maro Itoje as they head in a crucial Six Nations Round Three encounter against Wales in Cardiff
The Saracens lock suffered knee ligament damage in England’s opening win over Ireland and missed the 44-8 rout of France at Twickenham.
He was initially expected to miss the rest of the tournament, but the England camp had express positive noises in the build-up to Saturday’s game with Wales at the Principality Stadium, which has been billed as the Grand Slam decider.
In the aftermath of England’s win over France head coach Eddie Jones refused to rule out Itoje’s return in time for the Wales clash, while on Monday England defence coach John Mitchell said the Saracens club man was “progressing nicely”.
However, England forwards coach Steve Borthwick on Tuesday said that the lock is not ready to return to the rugby field.
“Maro is continuing his rehabilitation on a daily basis,” said Borthwick. “He will not be available for Saturday’s game.
“He’s going well, just not quite well enough for this weekend. At the moment he’s going through his running progressions and that’s being developed on a daily basis.”
With Itoje unavailable, it means that England are likely to stick with the second-row combination of Courtney Lawes and George Kruis for the game with Wales, with Joe Launchbury on the bench.
Dan Cole, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Alec Hepburn, Jack Singleton are the forwards who drop out from the initial 33-man squad, while in the backs Mike Brown, Ollie Devoto, Ollie Thornley also miss out.
Meanwhile, former Chelsea and England football captain John Terry visited the England rugby team’s training base on Tuesday.
“To have the opportunity to speak to someone like him with his experience is excellent,” Borthwick said.
“It’s a different sport, yes, but you can still talk about the traits of successful teams,” added Borthwick, a former Red Rose captain.
“We’re trying to keep learning and keep developing to be a successful team. He talked about how the senior playing group led and drove the standards at training.”
Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs), Brad Shields (Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons).
Backs: Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens) captain, George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Dan Robson (Wasps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).
AFP & RugbyPass
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