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Alex Mitchell becomes the latest England injury doubt – report

By Liam Heagney
England's Alex Mitchell in action versus South Africa (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Alex Mitchell has reportedly become the latest England injury doubt ahead of Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations opener away to Italy. Assistant coach Kevin Sinfield confirmed on Tuesday that Marcus Smith definitely won’t be available for the Stadio Olimpico fixture after suffering a calf muscle issue at training in Girona.

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It has since emerged that Mitchell’s availability is now also uncertain as he didn’t take part in two days of practice in Spain at the start of this week due to an infected cut on his leg.

If Steve Borthwick is ultimately unable to include Mitchell in his side when the team is named at 2pm on Thursday, it will mean that England will go into their championship opener with just four of their 14 Rugby World Cup backs available.

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Stuart Lancaster on the mentors Henry Arundell has at Racing 92

Racing 92 coach Stuart Lancaster discusses the mentors young star Henry Arundell will have around him at the club, including Owen Farrell

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Stuart Lancaster on the mentors Henry Arundell has at Racing 92

Racing 92 coach Stuart Lancaster discusses the mentors young star Henry Arundell will have around him at the club, including Owen Farrell

Mitchell’s fellow France 2023 No9 Ben Youngs retired from Test rugby following last October’s bronze medal finish, as did winger Jonny May.

Owen Farrell has taken a Test rugby sabbatical, Joe Marchant and Henry Arundell are ineligible as they are with Top 14 clubs. Meanwhile, Manu Tuilagi, Ollie Lawrence and Smith are injured while Max Malins is out of favour.

Team Form

Last 5 Games

3
Wins
2
1
Streak
1
14
Tries Scored
11
19
Points Difference
24
2/5
First Try
2/5
3/5
First Points
2/5
3/5
Race To 10 Points
1/5

If Mitchell, who has been on a drip, is ultimately added to this lengthy list of absentees, Danny Care, George Ford, Elliot Daly and Freddie Steward will be the only World Cup backs available to England going into their clash with the Azzurri.

A report in The Guardian read: “England’s problems are ­mounting before the start of their campaign with Alex Mitchell also handing the head coach a sizeable scare.

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“The Northampton scrum-half has been unable to train all week because of an infected wound in his leg, further disrupting Borthwick’s preparations.”

Even if Mitchell is eventually deemed fit to be involved in Rome, the expectation is that Care will form the starting half-back partnership with Ford in an XV that could herald debut Test starts for midfielder Fraser Dingwall and blindside Ethan Roots.

Tommy Freeman and Henry Slade are also tipped for recalls to the starting team after they missed out on World Cup selection last summer, while Fin Smith is primed for a Test debut from the bench.

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Comments

1 Comment
T
Thomas 163 days ago

This is becoming farcical. What’s the strength & conditioning squad doing there?

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