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Injury scare for England ahead of Monday's World Cup squad reveal

By PA
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England are confident that Tom Curry will play a role in their build-up to the Rugby World Cup as he recovers from a twisted ankle. Curry sustained the injury in training this week and will be sidelined for up to a fortnight, potentially ruling him out of the opening two matches of the Summer Nations Series which begins against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

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The Sale flanker is a certainty to be picked in Steve Borthwick’s World Cup squad when it is announced on Monday, but England will take no risks with the fitness of one of their most influential players.

“We are very hopeful (he will play this month). We don’t think it will be too long, but we will be smart with him as well,” defence coach Kevin Sinfield said.

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The Bunker explained in rugby

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The Bunker explained in rugby

Any concern over Henry Arundell’s hamstring injury has lifted after the explosive wing made a return to full training on Thursday.

England play the first of two Tests against Wales at the Principality Stadium fielding a line-up populated with players who are on the fringe of World Cup selection.

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Only Freddie Steward, Marcus Smith, Danny Care, Ellis Genge and Will Stuart are assured of their places in the 33-man squad, while the others are hoping to make a final impression on Borthwick. Sinfield, however, has downplayed the trial element of the visit to Cardiff as England look to build winning momentum.

“First and foremost, it’s a Test match. I’m sure some players will have selection in the back of their minds, but we want to show how we have improved,” Sinfield said.

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“It would be unfair to say it’s all on this game because it’s not. We have got to take into account the last eight weeks, how players have performed throughout the season and exactly what we need going forward.

“There are some wonderful players who will miss out, sadly, because we can’t take everybody. We will try to get to the right place with the right balance within the squad.”

One player who has been making waves this summer is Northampton’s all-action back row Tom Pearson, whom Genge insisted trains in the same we he plays – “like a man possessed”.

Pearson makes his debut on Saturday with a real chance of securing a place at the World Cup despite his inexperience.

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“Tom has been outstanding. We have all seen his physicality and how he plays the game and his explosive nature with London Irish last season. We’re all looking forward to seeing him play and he’s been excellent in camp,” Sinfield said.

Team Form

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Streak
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12
Tries Scored
11
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Points Difference
26
1/5
First Try
1/5
2/5
First Points
1/5
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Race To 10 Points
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J
Jon 1 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

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