Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

Huge blow for England as Alex Mitchell ruled out versus Scotland

By Liam Heagney
England's Alex Mitchell (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

First-choice England scrum-half Alex Mitchell has been ruled out of next Saturday’s round three Guinness Six Nations game away to Scotland.

ADVERTISEMENT

Head coach Steve Borthwick named his squad of 36 on Sunday evening for the trip to Edinburgh and there were two changes from the group that assembled last Wednesday for the mini-camp that culminated in Friday’s open training session in front of 10,00 fans at Twickenham.

Mitchell, who was originally an emergency Rugby World Cup call-up in August following the long-term injury to Jack van Poortvliet, has started in eight of England’s last 10 matches.

Video Spacer

Beyond 80 analysis on England and a Springbok defensive structure | RPTV

Former Ireland and Leinster hooker and analysis guru Bernard Jackman dissects England’s defensive structure under Felix Jones. Watch the full episode on RugbyPass TV

Watch now

Video Spacer

Beyond 80 analysis on England and a Springbok defensive structure | RPTV

Former Ireland and Leinster hooker and analysis guru Bernard Jackman dissects England’s defensive structure under Felix Jones. Watch the full episode on RugbyPass TV

Watch now

He dominated the No9 jersey at France 2023, making five starts in the seven-game campaign, and has also been Borthwick’s starter in the opening rounds of the current championship away to Italy and at home to Wales.

However, despite being pictured training last Friday at Twickenham, he won’t be available for next weekend’s trip to BT Murrayfield due to a knee injury that will require further investigation in the coming days to ascertain the length of rehabilitation required.

Fixture
Six Nations
Scotland
30 - 21
Full-time
England
All Stats and Data

His place in the squad has been taken by Harry Randall, who last Thursday was named in the squad of 27 for the February 25 England A game versus Portugal at Leicester.

Randall, who will now contest the scrum-half berth with Danny Care and Ben Spencer, is one of two changes to the Six Nations squad as Ollie Lawrence, who spent last week with England rehabilitating a hip injury, has been promoted into the official squad with Will Muir, his uncapped Bath teammate, dropping out.

ADVERTISEMENT

These latest changes mean that Borthwick heads into the Scotland match week with a squad of 36 that has five changes from the squad that assembled for the round two win over Wales.

Luke Cowan-Dickie and George Martin were last week brought into the forwards, the pair taking the spots of Jamie Blamire and Tom Pearson who were named in the A team squad. Midfielder Manu Tuilagi was also recalled last week, taking over from Oscar Beard.

The rehabilitating Lawrence and Marcus Smith were listed as unofficial fallow week squad members and while Lawrence has now been included in Borthwick’s squad to face Scotland, Smith will maintain his rehabilitation role.

The omitted Muir and Beard are now expected to feature in the England A team squad which will be updated on Tuesday when George Skivington’s group assemble at Loughborough University.

ADVERTISEMENT

England squad (vs Scotland, Saturday)
Forwards (20):
Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Alex Coles (Northampton Saints)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Sale Sharks)
Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins)
Ben Curry (Sale Sharks)
Theo Dan (Saracens)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins)
Ben Earl (Saracens)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears)
Jamie George (Saracens)
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers)
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
George Martin (Leicester Tigers)
Beno Obano (Bath Rugby)
Ethan Roots (Exeter Chiefs)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby)

Backs (16):
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Elliot Daly (Saracens)
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints)
Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Exeter Chiefs)
George Ford (Sale Sharks)
Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints)
Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby)
Max Ojomoh (Bath Rugby)
Harry Randall (Bristol Bears)
Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Fin Smith (Northampton Saints)
Ben Spencer (Bath Rugby)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers)
Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks)

  • Marcus Smith (Harlequins) will join the squad to continue his rehabilitation from injury.

Related

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

Chasing The Sun | Series 1 Episode 1

Fresh Starts | Episode 1 | Will Skelton

ABBIE WARD: A BUMP IN THE ROAD

Aotearoa Rugby Podcast | Episode 9

James Cook | The Big Jim Show | Full Episode

New Zealand victorious in TENSE final | Cathay/HSBC Sevens Day Three Men's Highlights

New Zealand crowned BACK-TO-BACK champions | Cathay/HSBC Sevens Day Three Women's Highlights

Japan Rugby League One | Bravelupus v Steelers | Full Match Replay

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

P
Poorfour 5 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

AI models are really just larger and less transparent variants of the statistical models that have been in use since Moneyball was invented. And a big difference between the Icahn centre’s results and AI today is that ChatGPT-like Large Language Models can explain (to some degree) how they reached their conclusions. In terms of what impact they will have, I suspect it will have two primary impacts: 1) It will place a premium on coaching creativity 2) It will lead to more selections that baffle fans and pundits. Analysts will be able to run the models both ways: they will see their own team’s and players’ weaknesses and strengths as well as the opposition’s. So they will have a good idea at what the other team will be targeting and the decisive difference may well be which coaches are smart enough to think of a gameplan that the other side didn’t identify and prepare for. For players, it places a premium on three key things: 1) Having a relatively complete game with no major weaknesses (or the dedication to work on eliminating them) 2) Having the tactical flexibility to play a different game every week 3) Having a point of difference that is so compelling that there isn’t a defence for it. (3) is relatively rare even among pro players. There have been only a handful of players over the years where you knew what they were going to do and the problem was stopping it - Lomu would be the classic example. And even when someone does have that, it’s hard to sustain. Billy Vunipola in his prime was very hard to stop, but fell away quite badly when the toll on his body began to accumulate. So coaches will look for (1) - a lack of exploitable weaknesses - and (2) - the ability to exploit others’ weaknesses - ahead of hoping for (3), at least for the majority of the pack. Which is likely to mean that, as with the original Moneyball, competent, unshowy players who do the stuff that wins matches will win out over outrageous talents who can’t adapt to cover their own weaknesses. Which will leave a lot of people on the sidelines sputtering over the non-inclusion of players whose highlights reels are spectacular, but whose lowlight reels have been uncovered by AI… at least until the point where every fan has access to a sporting analysis AI.

13 Go to comments
FEATURE
FEATURE Chasing the American dream Chasing the American dream
Search