England suffers double blow as All Blacks loom
TEAM UPDATE: Two key players are missing from the England team ahead of their year-end encounter with New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday.
Joe Cokanasiga and Joe Heyes are both absent from the team, after Eddie Jones reduced his 36-strong squad to 25 ahead of Saturday’s clash with the All Blacks.
Cokanasiga was a late inclusion to start in the demolition of Japan last week, after Jack Nowell reported an abdominal wall injury ahead of the pre-game warmup.
Heyes played off the bench as a second-half replacement for the starting England tighthead Kyle Sinckler
Cokanasiga has since reported an ankle injury, prising the door open for Tommy Freeman to remain on with the squad this week, while Heyes has lost out to Will Stuart, who was a fresh name included by Jones for training on the Monday and Tuesday of this week.
Of the 19 forwards named in the 36-strong squad on Monday, Heyes, Sean Robinson, Bevan Rodd, Jack Singleton and Hugh Tizard have been cut to reduce the pack options to 14.
In the backs, the list of 17 has been cut to eleven with Cokanasiga, George Furbank, Will Joseph, Alex Mitchell, Caden Murley and Adam Radwan all excluded.
“Eddie Jones has retained a 25-player squad for England’s match against New Zealand this weekend,” a team statement said.
“Joe Cokanasiga is unavailable for selection after suffering an ankle injury in England’s 52-13 win over Japan.”