England receive double injury boost ahead of Ireland Six Nations clash

Marcus Smith and Alex Mitchell look set to be fit to face the reigning grand slam champions

Luke Baker
Sunday 03 March 2024 19:04 GMT
Marcus Smith is yet to feature in this year’s Six Nations
Marcus Smith is yet to feature in this year’s Six Nations (PA)

England have received a much-needed double boost among their half-back contingent with Marcus Smith and Alex Mitchell set to be fit for the intimidating Six Nations clash with Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday.

Harlequins fly half Smith – who was primed to be handed the keys to England’s No 10 jersey for this year’s Six Nations – is yet to feature in the championship due to a calf issue sustained ahead of the opening game, while Northampton scrum half Mitchell missed the defeat to Scotland last time out after twisting his knee in training, having started the victories over Italy and Wales.

Both men were rehabilitating their respective injuries when England held a three-day training camp in York last week but have now been named in Steve Borthwick’s full 36-man training squad for the weekend’s game against reigning champions Ireland, who appear to be on an unstoppable march to back-to-back grand slams.

Their return would be a huge boon to England’s faltering attack, as neither Danny Care nor Ben Spencer particularly impressed in the No 9 shirt during the 30-21 Scotland loss and the fly-half channel has also lacked an attacking spark with ball in hand that the mercurial Smith may be able to provide.

Wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, who scored a try as a replacement in the Calcutta Cup defeat, also returns to the squad after being absent from last week’s training camp to sit a medical exam at Exeter University.

Flanker Tom Pearson is the biggest name to be cut from last week’s group despite England’s back row, aside from Ben Earl, having so far lacked the carrying power Pearson is renowned for.

Scrum half Harry Randall and centre Max Ojomoh – who impressed during England A’s recent victory over Portugal – are the other players released from the squad to enable Smith, Mitchell and Feyi-Waboso to return.

England must beat Ireland at Twickenham to remain in title contention heading into the final weekend when they will face France in Lyon.

England’s 36-man training squad for Ireland clash

Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Dan Cole, Alex Coles, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Chandler Cunningham-South, Theo Dan, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Joe Heyes, Maro Itoje, Joe Marler, George Martin, Beno Obano, Ethan Roots, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill

Backs: Danny Care, Elliot Daly, Fraser Dingwall, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, George Ford, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Ollie Lawrence, Alex Mitchell, Will Muir, Tom Roebuck, Henry Slade, Fin Smith, Marcus Smith, Ben Spencer, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi

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