Six Nations: England's Lawes ruled out of France clash as Smith retained in favour of Ford

By Sports Desk March 07, 2023

Courtney Lawes has been ruled out of England's Six Nations clash with France at Twickenham on Saturday because of a shoulder injury.

After recovering from a calf problem sustained while playing for Northampton, vice-captain Lawes returned off the bench for Steve Borthwick's side as they beat Wales 20-10 at the Principality Stadium in late February.

However, Lawes has now suffered more injury disappointment as an issue with his shoulder forces the lock to withdraw from the squad for the France game.

Marcus Smith has been included in the 27-man squad after the fly-half was left out of Borthwick's group for a three-day training camp in Brighton.

Smith's inclusion means George Ford is released to Sale Sharks to play against London Irish on Sunday, while Max Malins is named in the squad after recovering from an ankle injury that meant he missed the Brighton training camp.

The other players released were forwards Tom Dunn, Joe Heyes, Bevan Rodd and Sam Simmonds, as well as backs Tommy Freeman, Cadan Murley and Ben Youngs.

Full England squad:

Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Dan Cole, Ben Curry, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Lewis Ludlam, David Ribbans, Kyle Sinckler, Mako Vunipola, Jack Walker, Jack Willis.

Backs: Henry Arundell, Owen Farrell, Ollie Lawrence, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Alex Mitchell, Henry Slade, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Jack van Poortvliet, Anthony Watson.

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    The pair linked up with head coach Steve Borthwick’s group last week for a three-day training camp in York ahead of the final two rounds of the Six Nations, and were on Sunday evening named in a 36-man squad to face Grand Slam-chasing Ireland at Twickenham.

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    “I got the opportunity over in England and it all happened pretty quickly,” he added. “It was a weird time because I was stuck inside for 18 days with Covid and I was like, ‘Did I make the right decision?’ But once I had got rid of the Covid and got into training I knew I had done.

    “I suppose it’s not meant to be easy. Moving over at that age I was a little homesick at first, but when you are working hard and having fun with new friends it gets pushed to the back of your head and I have been loving every minute of it.”

    Cunningham-South initially joined the London Irish academy in 2022, representing England in the under-20 Six Nations in the same year, before moving on to Harlequins when Irish folded due to financial issues.

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