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England confirm 'really good news' on Courtney Lawes front

By PA
Courtney Lawes /PA

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Courtney Lawes has resumed full training in time to reinforce the middle phase of England’s Guinness Six Nations title push.

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Lawes was unable to play in the opening two rounds of the tournament because of concussion but has now completed his return to play protocols and comes into contention to face Wales next Saturday.

As well as restoring the 32-year-old to England’s back row, Eddie Jones must decide whether he should resume in the captaincy role he filled during the autumn.

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“Courtney trained fully today (Friday), which is obviously really good news for himself and England. He looked sharp,” defence coach Anthony Seibold said.

“That was the last box for him to tick. He’s had a very thorough return to play integration and did everything in the session.”

With a full training week in the lead up to the Wales clash ahead of him, Lawes is likely to take over from Maro Itoje at blindside flanker with Itoje moving into the second row.

“I was super impressed with Courtney in the autumn, which was the first time I’d worked with him,” Seibold said.

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“He took over from Owen Farrell as captain when Owen got injured and he did a fantastic job. He leads through his actions.

“One of the things with Courtney is his ability in defence. Everyone can see his athleticism, but what he does off the ball in defence, the little detail around his effort areas, is very high.

“I’m super impressed with him on both sides of the ball, but defensively in a lot of ways he’s a real leader for us.

“To have him back in the group training raises the standards because it means we’ve got a highly intelligent defensive player who is full of effort.”

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Number eight Sam Simmonds will resume full training after a hip injury limited his involvement in England’s three-day fallow week camp in Chelsea.

The squad trained early on Friday morning to avoid the worst of Storm Eunice, which has drawn a red warning from the Met Office, and have spent time in the kitchen as a bonding exercise.

Seibold said: “We’ve been staying in Chelsea and there’s been hard work but also a lot of connection off the field.

“The players have had some activities away from rugby that brings them closer together.

“In a typical Test week you don’t get a lot of time to spend with each other off the field in a social setting.

“The players did some cooking – they cooked their own meals. We had some lessons at that.”

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