Borthwick decision delayed

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The Independent Online

The England captain Steve Borthwick is still struggling to prove his fitness for tomorrow night's Six Nations meeting with France.

Borthwick underwent another scan on his injured left knee yesterday afternoon and the England medical team will make a final decision on his availability before the squad leave for Paris today. The Stade Français lock Tom Palmer has been training with England all week and is on standby to come into the squad if Borthwick is ruled out.

Borthwick aggravated an existing injury late in England's 15-15 draw with Scotland last weekend and the prognosis does not look promising. After receiving conflicting opinions from two specialists on Tuesday afternoon, Borthwick was advised to spend 48 hours with his leg in a brace and he sat out Wednesday's training session.

Borthwick's condition was reviewed yesterday and there were no reports of an improvement from the England medics, only that a final decision will be delayed. Borthwick, who has captained England in 20 consecutive Tests, has been carrying the injury for about three weeks.

Northampton lock Courtney Lawes was on the bench for England against Scotland but Palmer was drafted in because of his superior line-out skill.

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