England welcome back Courtney Lawes as Tom Curry suffers setback
It comes ahead of the Six Nations clash with Wales at the the weekend
Tom Curry’s England comeback has encountered a temporary setback but Courtney Lawes is poised to end months of injury misery in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Wales.
Curry has been left out of the 26-man training squad that will continue preparations for the strike-threatened visit to Cardiff because of an unspecified injury, although it is not thought to be serious.
The 24-year-old Sale flanker’s place has been taken by his twin brother Ben, who is unexpectedly chosen ahead of Ben Earl despite the reigning Premiership player of the season’s impact off the bench against Scotland and Italy.
Curry completed the Sharks’ defeat at Northampton on Saturday in his first appearance since tearing his hamstring on January 8, but bad luck has struck again to prevent him from claiming a place in England’s back row.
“Tom’s going to be a big player for us. We’ll miss him this weekend,” defence coach Kevin Sinfield said.
“He’s been really good in camp. He’s a seasoned international now and he’s got a lot of caps under his belt.”
Lawes’ tortuous season that has been blighted by concussion, neck, glute and calf injuries is set to take an upward turn with the Northampton forward ready to participate at the Principality Stadium.
The 33-year-old, who can play at flanker or lock, has not appeared for England since the July tour to Australia which he led as captain.
The decision facing head coach Steve Borthwick ahead of Thursday’s team announcement is whether to pick him in the starting XV or on the bench.
“Aside from his playing ability, Courtney gets more out of the players around him,” Sinfield said.
“There aren’t that many players in world rugby who have that influence across the team. He’s certainly got it.
“He’s got a real presence – he’s physical, he’s tough and he’s very, very mobile for a big man. All things being well, he should be there at the weekend.”
The build-up to the 139th meeting between the rivals is being overshadowed by the threat of strike action by Wales players, who are locked in a contract dispute with the Welsh Rugby Union.
Coach Warren Gatland is confident the match will go ahead, but as of Thursday a resolution had yet to found.
“Nothing’s changed for us,” Sinfield said. “We control what we can control and look ahead to what will be a fantastic game and something that we’ve all looked forward to. We’ve planned as normal, nothing’s changed for us.”Published: by Radio NewsHub