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England withdraw another centre days out from Six Nations

By Ian Cameron
Mako Vunipola. (Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images)

England head coach Steve Borthwick’s England have been forced to withdraw another centre just days out from their opening match of the 2023 Guinness Six Nations.

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Yesterday Henry Slade was withdrawn and today the RFU have confirmed that Dan Kelly has also been removed from the squad.

“Dan Kelly has been withdrawn from the England squad who are preparing to play Scotland this weekend in the Guinness Six Nations with a thigh injury,” read an RFU statement. “Guy Porter has been called up by head coach Steve Borthwick. Porter has joined with the squad who are training at the Honda England Rugby Performance Centre at Pennyhill Park, Bagshot.”

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On Sunday Slade was ruled out of the opener against Scotland at Twickenham with a hip injury. Slade picked up the knock during Exeter’s game against Castres last weekend and has not recovered sufficiently to be considered for selection, but Jamie George is included in the squad ahead of the Calcutta Cup clash on February 4.

The Saracens hooker was initially withdrawn from the group after he was concussed in their defeat to Edinburgh last weekend. He will continue to work through his graduated return-to-play protocols.

Anthony Watson has also been recalled following injury, England Rugby confirmed in a squad update issued on Sunday evening.

Borthwick said: “This is a very important week for us as we prepare for our first game against Scotland.

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“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.

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“We can’t wait to run out at Twickenham again in front of our incredible supporters.”

UPDATE ENGLAND SQUAD:

Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Dan Cole, Ben Curry, Alex Dombrandt, Tom Dunn, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Joe Heyes, Jonny Hill, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Lewis Ludlam, David Ribbans, Bevan Rodd, Sam Simmonds, Kyle Sinckler, Mako Vunipola, Jack Walker, Jack Willis

Backs: Owen Farrell, Tommy Freeman, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Guy Porter, Ollie Lawrence, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Alex Mitchell, Cadan Murley, Fin Smith, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Jack van Poortvliet, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.

additional reporting PA

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