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Slade out and Lions star in as England injuries cause changes

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Sunday Jan 29, 2023

The Six Nations hasn’t started yet, but the injury list is already taking effect in the England camp. Exeter centre Henry Slade has been forced to withdraw from the England squad after suffering a hip injury in the European Cup match against Castres. Reports have detailed that the 50-cap England player “has not recovered sufficiently to be available for selection.”

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This will be a devastating blow for fans looking to see Slade regain his starting position in the team alongside the fit again Manu Tuilagi. With Slade now out of contention, it’s widely believed that the England captain Owen Farrell will take up the inside centre position that was heavily trusted by Eddie Jones, working in axis with the young Marcus Smith at ten.

Replacing Slade in the England squad is Anthony Watson. The Leicester player has recently become available again after a long time on the sidelines with injury, which will no doubt bring some interesting selection headaches when it comes to the back three. Watson is a two-time British and Irish Lions tourist, starting in five out of the six tests he was available for. With twenty-two England tries to his name, and currently performing very well in the English Premiership, he’s not a bad name to have in the side.

Jamie George has also been named in the squad following his recent head injury, as he goes through the Graduated Return to Play protocols.

Speaking at the Honda England Rugby Performance Centre at Pennyhill Park, Borthwick said: “This is a very important week for us as we prepare for our first game against Scotland.

“We know that Scotland are an excellent side with a great coaching team led by Gregor Townsend. They’re a settled squad who have been together a long time and have dominated this fixture in recent seasons.

“They will be coming to Twickenham full of confidence. We know we have a lot of work to do. The team trained very hard last week and are ready to go again this week. We can’t wait to run out at Twickenham again in front of our incredible supporters.”

England’s first game is against Scotland on 4th February at Twickenham.
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