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Borthwick gives Shields update

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England coach offers update on injured stars Shields and Farrell

England flanker Brad Shields is expected to resume full training in the week leading up to his side’s Six Nations opener against Ireland in Dublin.

Shields has been struggling with a strain in his side and has been unable to train with the rest of the squad in Portugal. He had to withdraw from club side Wasps’ recent Champions Cup fixture against Leinster because of the injury.

“Brad is continuing his recovery, doing some good running sessions and is increasing that day on day,” England forwards coach Steve Borthwick told the Daily Mail.

“He hasn’t been in team training yet but we’re aiming for him to be in full training next week.”

Borthwick remains confident that England have the talent to cover Shields’ absence should he be deemed unfit to play.

“Mark Wilson in particular has shown he can play across all back row positions.”

Other candidates to cover the six jersey include Harlequins back rower Jack Clifford and locks Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes, who have the ability to slide into blindside flanker.

Borthwick also offered an update on injured captain Owen Farrell, who he believes will be fit for the tournament opener after minor surgery on his thumb.

“Owen has been training with the team, doing non-contact to allow the wound to heal,” Borthwick said.

“Everything’s on track and there’s no issue. He’s passing the ball. We anticipate he’ll be in full training next week. That’s the plan.”

After last year’s disappointing fifth-place finish, England will be hoping for a strong Six Nations campaign leading into the Rugby World Cup.

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England coach offers update on injured stars Shields and Farrell