Borthwick fitness concern for England

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The Independent Online

England have concerns over the fitness of captain Steve Borthwick ahead of Saturday's final RBS 6 Nations championship game with France.

Borthwick left England's base at Pennyhill Park after a light training session this morning to seek specialist treatment on a long-term knee injury.



England manager Martin Johnson names his team for the Paris showdown tomorrow lunchtime and admitted he is not yet certain whether Borthwick will be fit.



"Steve has gone for treatment for a long-term wear and tear issue he has got with his knee. I don't know (whether he is a doubt) at the moment," said Johnson, who was expecting an update later this afternoon.



"He has to go and seek some advice. Hopefully it is just precautionary and he will be fine.



"Lots of guys carry things because they play a lot of rugby."



England also have concerns over Ugo Monye and Jonny Wilkinson, who were both replaced early in last weekend's 15-15 draw with Scotland after suffering heavy blows to the neck and head.



Wilkinson was ordered to sit in a darkened room after colliding with Borthwick's hip and he will need to pass a series of cognitive tests before being cleared to play in Paris.



Monye injured his neck in a clash with the Scotland flanker Kelly Brown but the England medics report he is making "good progress" and the Harlequins winger is willing to play through the pain.



Elsewhere, the likes of fit-again lock Simon Shaw, full-back Ben Foden and centres Shontayne Hape and Mike Tindall all come into the selection equation.



France will seal the Grand Slam if they beat England in Paris on Saturday night.



"They have been the form team of the tournament but we are an international team playing for England and we want to perform," said Johnson.



"They have got a lot to lose in terms of not winning a Grand Slam. We have a lot to lose every time we play for England.



"Frustration was the buzzword on Saturday within our group and not much has changed.



"The perception that the team is shackled and inhibited is wrong. We tried to do the right thing most of the time against Scotland but the mistakes killed us."

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