Uncapped lock David Ribbans has become the latest player to be called up to the England squad for the rest of the Guinness Six Nations. It follows confirmation last Friday that Courtney Lawes – Ribbans’ club colleague at Northampton – would be unavailable for the remainder of the tournament through injury.

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The 25-year-old South African, one of the shadow squad picks on standby for a Six Nations call-up following involvement at England training throughout November, told RugbyPass last week: “I didn’t manage to get a cap but it was a great experience and I really enjoyed it, a competitive environment with 35 of the best players in the country all there competing, I really enjoyed my time there.

“Great coaching staff and facilities and all the rest. But I want to get that international cap, be a part of that. It’s every professional’s dream or goal and I am still pushing hard for that but I am just focusing on Saints and trying to do well, that is all I can do.”

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The RFU Wednesday lunchtime statement announcing the inclusion of Ribbans in the England squad added: “Eddie Jones’ side, who are currently on a fallow week, will meet again at their training base, The Lensbury in Teddington, to prepare for their last two matches on Sunday. England will take on France at Twickenham on March 13 and Ireland in Dublin on March 20.

“Elsewhere, some of the squad members who have received less playing time during the tournament will be given the opportunity to play for their clubs in their respective fixtures this weekend. This will be an individual decision for each player from a performance perspective and is in line with tournament regulations and Covid-19 protocols.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Bristol’s Pat Lam had become the latest Premiership boss to voice concern regarding the lack of game time some of his players were having due to being in the England squad but getting little or no Test action. He said: “The biggest challenge we are going to face certainly is Harry Randall has played no rugby since January 9. By the time he gets back (from England injury) it is going to be twelve weeks, three months of no rugby at all, so that is going to be our challenge to get him back.

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“Max Malins has played 27 minutes in ten weeks and Ben Earl has played 45 minutes of rugby in eight weeks and by the time they get back (from England) it’s going to be twelve weeks. Hopefully, they are going to get some game time but if not that will be our biggest challenge. That is the longest break.”

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