England face anxious wait on Slade
INJURY UPDATE: Henry Slade faces the prospect of entering the World Cup without any game time in the bank after failing to train at England’s camp in Treviso on Tuesday.
Slade was confined to individual work while the squad conducted their main practice session ahead of Friday’s final warm-up Test against Italy in Newcastle.
The Exeter outside centre has been troubled by a knee injury that forced him to sit out the double-header against Wales and rout of Ireland.
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Head coach Eddie Jones names his team on Wednesday morning to face Conor O’Shea’s Azzurri at St James’ Park in the final game of the summer before the squad departs for Japan on September 8. Slade took ownership of the number 13 jersey during last summer’s tour to South Africa and has been first-choice since until injury struck.
“Henry did some really good individual work. Looking over I saw that he was flying. We’ll see where we get to with the feedback from this afternoon [Tuesday],” scrum coach Neal Hatley said. “We talked about him being an outside chance for Friday so we’ll see where we get to with that.”
Slade’s Exeter teammate Jack Nowell is a certainty to depart for the Far East without having played a single minute of rugby during the four warm-up Tests. Already battling an ankle injury that has taken longer to heal than expected, he was then forced to spend four nights in a Treviso hospital after having his appendix removed, leaving on Sunday.
“Jack is in great spirits for a bloke who has been knocked down once or twice,” Hatley said. “If he hadn’t had the appendix operation he’d have been running today, so his ankle rehabilitation has gone really well.
“Jack is great with the team and has a good sense of humour. He’s an important player for us. Since he got back from the hospital he’s been really good around the camp.”