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Potential England Six Nations boost as fit-again Underhill starts for Bath

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Sam Underhill is set to fuel prospects of an England comeback in time for the final two rounds of the Guinness Six Nations as he has recovered from a hip injury to be named in the Bath team for Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership game at home to defending champions Exeter. 

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Back row Underhill was named in the original England squad selected for the championship on January 22. However, injury resulted him pulling out of the squad before it assembled at St George’s Park to prepare for a tournament where the form of Jones’ team has been unconvincing in a win over hapless Italy and defeats to Scotland and Wales.  

Underhill hasn’t played any rugby since Bath were beaten by Wasps eight weeks ago on January 8 in the Premiership. However, with England since lost Underhill’s squad replacement Jack Willis to injury along with Courtney Lawes it will be interesting to see what Jones might do should the flanker come through his comeback game unscathed. 

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Uncapped duo George Martin and David Ribbans were called into the England squad in recent weeks to replace Willis and Lawes and while Jones has been restricted to just 28 picks every time England assemble, Underhill’s return to club action will prompt speculation that he could somehow be included for the matches versus France and Ireland. 

Jones had initially opted to run his England squad without releasing fringe players back to their Premiership clubs on fallow weekends during the Six Nations. 

However, amid criticism that players could be left with little no game time over the spring, it was decided on Wednesday that some squad members would now be given the opportunity to play for their clubs this weekend.

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Beno Obano will start for Bath, but Bristol have decided not to include Ben Earl and Max Malins for their game at Worcester who have opted not to involve Ollie Lawrence. There is also no place for Paulo Odogwu in the Wasps squad even though he hasn’t played any rugby since their January 8 win at Bath. 

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Potential England Six Nations boost as fit-again Underhill starts for Bath

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