11 players that should be fit again for Six Nations Round 3
After two rounds of Guinness Six Nations action, we enter the first fallow week of the tournament, offering players a much-needed chance to rest.
The week off is especially important for injured players, as it provides that extra time to continue to rehab and avoid missing any more game-time.
Those that just missed out on round two, now have two weeks to impress their coaches and show they are ready to play. Here are some players that should be back in contention for round three:
The last time George Martin pulled on an England shirt, he was producing a monstrously physical display against South Africa in the World Cup semi-final. He injured his knee in that match though, which kept him out until December. A month later, his club Leicester Tigers confirmed he suffered another “minor knee injury,” which meant he was one of five players called into England’s Six Nations squad for rehabilitation.
After missing the opening two rounds of the Championship, Steve Borthwick said after the Wales match on Saturday: “Hopefully George Martin will be back in the squad and available for selection this week.”
England’s midfield powerhouse Manu Tuilagi has been out of action since December with a groin injury, and was another member of the quintet of players in the England squad for rehabilitation. Like with Martin, Borthwick said at Twickenham that he hopes to have the Sale Sharks centre back for the Calcutta Cup in Edinburgh in round three. “Hopefully Manu Tuilagi isn’t too far away to be in contention for the next selection,” he said.
Included in the Six Nations after missing the World Cup with a neck injury, Luke Cowan-Dickie was withdrawn from the squad a week before facing Italy alongside Ollie Lawrence and Oscar Beard. But Borthwick is anticipating the hooker will be in the mix for selection after the fallow week.
He said: “I hope Luke Cowan-Dickie comes into that reckoning for selection as well for the next squad. That’s what I’m aiming towards right now.”
The England head coach did add that these injury updates could change with medical reports this week.
Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony missed the 36-0 win over Italy with a calf injury having not trained all week. His head coach Andy Farrell said that it “shouldn’t take too long” and expects the 34-year-old to be back in training in preparation for Wales’ visit to the Aviva Stadium in round three.
Like his captain, tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong also missed the week leading into the Italy match, but his coach also expects him to return to training this week.
With an extra week’s rest now, the Scot is expected to return for the Calcutta Cup.
Initially named in Townsend’s Six Nations squad, winger Darcy Graham sustained a quad injury soon after. But Scotland confirmed in the build-up to the loss to France that the 26-year-old had returned to training with Edinburgh.
It has since been reported that Graham will be in contention to be selected for the clash with England.
Scotland’s veteran tighthead WP Nel missed the opening two rounds with a neck strain, but returned to Edinburgh training last week alongside Graham, and is also poised to be available for round three.
Italy flanker Sebastian Negri was ruled out of the loss to Ireland after suffering a rib contusion the week before against England in Rome. In an Instagram post after the injury was announced, the back row said he hoped to be “back soon,” and an extra week’s rest now may well be enough to see him fit for the trip to Lille to face France.
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Lyon lock Romain Taofifenua was a late withdrawal from France’s squad to face Ireland in the opening match of this year’s Championship, paving the way for Posolo Tuilagi to make his debut.
Fabien Galthie confirmed that he had a leg infection after the match, while also confirming he would miss the Scotland clash at Murrayfield. Though nothing has been confirmed yet, Glathie did not rule him out of the Italy match in round three.
Wales fly-half Sam Costelow left the Principality Stadium pitch in the first half of the round one loss to Scotland, and missed the trip to Twickenham in round two.
Wales attack coach Alex King confirmed that the 23-year-old did not suffer a concussion, rather a “neural issue on his neck”.
An injury update is expected this week from Wales, so nothing is confirmed about Costelow’s availability, but the three-week gap between round one and round three may benefit him.