MARCUS SMITH added to England’s injury nightmare by limping out of training — just five days before their Six Nations opener with Italy.
The fly-half was seen arriving back at the team hotel with crutches and was immediately taken to a local hospital for a scan, with England expected to update on his injury today.
Marcus Smith could miss England’s Six Nations opener[/caption]
Fin Smith could come in to replace his namesake[/caption]
Attack coach Richard Wigglesworth said: “If he is not fit it would definitely be a blow for us.
“It wasn’t a big incident, that’s why I was hoping it was nothing much.
“He was just jogging, it was never extensive, but he pulled up and happened to be right next to a physio when he did it by the sideline, so they just walked off after that.”
With Owen Farrell off-limits, Harlequins star Smith had a chance to nail down the No 10 shirt with a decent run of games.
Ford trained yesterday but has had an injection in his knee recently, meaning Saints’ Smith, just 21, could be thrown in at the weekend against the Italians.
He ran the show in Northampton’s recent Champions Cup win away at Munster and was pushing his namesake anyway.
Wigglesworth added: “He’s a very impressive young man in terms of how he has got good opinions on the attack, good solutions for people — ‘I’d like you to do this, are we thinking about this?’. He’s proactive and already offering that.
“He has had a really good start and is impressive.
“After meeting him, and training with him for a couple of weeks in World Cup training camp, that’s what I remember from him, and he’s developed again and is playing really well.
“Fin is that sort of character who is very keen to improve. He’s got a winning mentality, a winning edge to him.
“I really like that he’s driven that team forward at Northampton and he’s made a big difference to them.”
Ford did play in Sale’s Champions Cup defeat to La Rochelle ten days ago but gave up the kicking duties in the match when he was struggling with his knee.
Wigglesworth stressed: “He’s fully operational. It was that just bit of knee pain that was affecting his kicking on the snap right at the very end.
“He’s done a load of work with Kevin Sinfield and, by all accounts, he’s missed one all week.”
Ollie Lawrence, George Martin, Anthony Watson, Jack van Poortvliet, Tom Curry, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Manu Tuilagi are all on the injured list.
But centre Lawrence, lock Martin and hooker Cowan-Dickie could be in the frame for the Wales game on February 10.
Meanwhile, Exeter centre Henry Slade, back in favour after his World Cup snub, revealed how he persuaded Cardiff-born winger Immanuel Feyi-Waboso to choose England over Wales.
The flying youngster is eligible for both countries but Slade pointed him in England’s direction under the nose of the Wales captain, who plays for Chiefs.
Slade said: “After we played Bristol he was having a chat with me about England, and Dafydd Jenkins was talking to him about Wales — and Joe Hawkins got a picture of it. It sounds like I won that discussion.”