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Shields and Launchbury fresh worries


Shields and Launchbury added to England's burgeoning injury crisis

Two Wasps forwards are the latest to be added to Eddie Jones’ England injury worries this afternoon.

Brad Shields was withdrawn from the Wasps’ side to take on Leinster just over an hour before kick-off at the Ricoh Arena.

“Wasps have been forced into a late team change ahead of their Heineken Champions Cup clash with Leinster Rugby, as Ben Morris steps in for Brad Shields who misses out with a side strain,” said the club in a statement.

Then just 10 minutes into the game, secondrow Joe Launchbury was injured while attempted to tackle Devin Toner. Toner appeared to land on the England forward’s neck as they collided in a square on tackle.

Launchbury was taken off the field to undergo a HIA, which he passed. Worryingly, he did not return to the field.

Both are unwelcome concerns for Jones, who yesterday was hit with news that captain Owen Farell needs surgery.

Jones said he is “cautiously optimistic” Farrell will be fit for the Six Nations opener against Ireland, despite needing surgery to fix a thumb injury.

Farrell – who this week was named England’s captain with Dylan Hartley ruled out for the start of the tournament with a knee issue – sat out Saracens’ European Champions Cup fixture with Glasgow Warriors on Saturday.

Director of rugby Mark McCall confirmed to BT Sports that the fly-half required “a simple procedure” at the base of his thumb and his recovery could take up to 10 days.

While the timeframe is tight with the Ireland game on February 2, Jones is upbeat over the influential 27-year-old’s chances of featuring at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

“I came from Saracens, they had a good win. We’re cautiously optimistic, he should be alright,” he told Sky Sports News.

Jones and his players head for Portugal on Wednesday for a training camp before the Australian names his 25-man party to face Ireland on January 31.

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Shields and Launchbury added to England's burgeoning injury crisis