More injury concerns for England


Published: Sunday 26th October 2014 by The News Editor

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England’s preparations for next month’s autumn series continue to be disrupted by injury with Billy Vunipola joining Luther Burrell in the treatment room.

Vunipola was concussed in Saracens’ Champions Cup defeat by Munster on Friday and will follow return to play protocols in training over the next week.

Twenty-fours hours later Burrell was withdrawn shortly after half-time of Northampton’s victory over the Ospreys with an injury to his right hand.

Burrell is to remain at Saints rather than join up with England’s squad at Pennyhill Park with the extent of the damage expected to be known by midweek.

James Haskell continues to be monitored for the virus that resulted in his hospitalisation 10 days ago, forcing him to miss Wasps’ last two games.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster has called up Exeter trio Dave Ewers, Henry Slade and Thomas Waldrom as cover. Ewers is picked ahead of Will Fraser of Saracens, who also has concussion.

“Luther will be assessed by a specialist over the next 48 hours and our medics are in close contact with Saints so we’ll know more in a few days, but it’s great to be able to bring in Henry,” Lancaster said.

“Billy will undergo the return to play protocol with us and will resume training once he has completed that.

“Injuries are inevitable but we are excited about the group we have in camp.”

Burrell is a long shot to start the QBE Series opener against New Zealand on November 8 – Kyle Eastmond and Brad Barritt are the likely centre pairing – but Vunipola has been inked in at number eight.

Minor concerns hang over props David Wilson and Joe Marler, who have respective calf and thigh injuries, but both are expected to be fit by the weekend.

Bath’s Henry Thomas and Alex Waller of Northampton have been added as front row cover while the arrival of Ben Foden, Matt Kvesic, Anthony Watson and Richard Wigglesworth in Bagshot on Sunday night lifts the number of players in England’s training squad to 41.

Tom Wood has remained in Northampton with his wife pending the birth of their third child and will join the squad later this week.

“We always anticipated bringing in additional players following the European games, either to cover injuries or for training,” Lancaster said.

Published: Sunday 26th October 2014 by The News Editor

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