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Itoje leaves England camp

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Itoje leaves England camp as Eddie names 31-man squad

England head coach Eddie Jones has finally accepted that Maro Itoje needs to be allowed to fully recover from the knee injury that has ruled him out of all but one of England’s Six Nations matches with the Saracens lock sent back to his club in the build up to Saturday’s clash with Scotland at Twickenham.

Itoje injured knee ligaments in the opening Six Nations match with Ireland and RugbyPass revealed it was an eight week recovery period ruling him out of the rest of the tournament.

England insisted they could get him back sooner with Itoje lined up to face Italy only to suffer a set back in training as he side stepped past Jones who was acting as an Italian defender.

Jones tried to play down the set back but now has agreed to let Itoje continue his rehabilitation under the expertise of Phil Morrow, the Saracens head of performance, who is currently masterminding Mako Vunipola’s return from a calf injury that will keep him out for up to 10 weeks.

With Saracens facing a European Champions Cup quarter-final with Glasgow Warriors and needing to stabilise their Gallagher Premiership title challenge, the return of Itoje is key. Now, they get to take full control over his recovery having been in constant contact with the England medical team.

Jones will be expected to stick with the second row pair of Joe Launchbury and George Kruis against Scotland but has called up Gloucester’s Elliott Stooke to join Bath’s Charlie Ewels as other options for the bench. Marcus Smith, the outstanding young Harlequins No10, is also included ahead of Danny Cipriani.

Sale’s Chris Ashton has not recovered from injury and is not included in the 31 strong training squad clearing the way for Joe Cokanasiga to continue causing mayhem on the right wing for England after his impressive showing in the win over Italy.

England squad

Forwards

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)

Ben Earl (Saracens)

Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)

Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers)

Jamie George (Saracens)

Nathan Hughes (Wasps)

George Kruis (Saracens)

Joe Launchbury (Wasps)

Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs)

Brad Shields (Wasps)

Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)

Elliott Stooke (Bath Rugby)

Billy Vunipola (Saracens)

Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)

Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)

Backs

Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby)

Elliot Daly (Wasps)

Owen Farrell (Saracens) captain

George Ford (Leicester Tigers)

Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)

Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)

Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)

Dan Robson (Wasps)

Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)

Marcus Smith (Harlequins)

Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby)

Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)

Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)

Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

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Itoje leaves England camp as Eddie names 31-man squad