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Injured rules England’s Mitchell out of Calcutta Cup

England’s prospects of reclaiming the Calcutta Cup from Scotland have been dealt a blow after Alex Mitchell was ruled out of the Murrayfield showdown with a knee problem.

The RFU confirmed the scrum-half will miss the pivotal Guinness Six Nations Round 3 game because of an injury that requires further investigation before a date for his return can be set.

Bristol Bears’ Harry Randall has been named as the replacement in Steve Borthwick’s 36-man training squad with Danny Care and Ben Spencer competing to fill the void in the No 9 jersey in Edinburgh.

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With England having won their first two games, Sky Sports News’ Eleanor Roper and digital journalist Megan Wellens assess whether Steve Borthwick’s team can win the Six Nations

The loss of Mitchell, who scored a try in the opening win over Italy in Rome and started in the narrow victory against Wales at Twickenham, was offset by the news Ollie Lawrence has been cleared to resume full training.

The Bath centre had suffered a hip injury during his club’s Investec Champions Club match against Toulouse last month and it was initially feared he would miss the entire Six Nations. However, he is now in line to feature against Scotland.

Lawrence’s availability follows Manu Tuilagi, George Martin and Luke Cowan-Dickie all returning to the training squad last week ,and the return of Tuilagi and Lawrence leaves Borthwick with a decision to make around whether to continue with Fraser Dingwall in midfield.

Fly-half Marcus Smith has linked back up with the England squad as well to continue his rehabilitation from a calf injury, although no date has yet been set for his return to playing.

England’s updated 36-player squad

Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Dan Cole (both Leicester Tigers), Alex Coles (Northampton Saints), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Sale Sharks), Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins), Ben Curry (Sale Sharks), Theo Dan (Saracens), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Ben Earl (Saracens), Charlie Ewels (Bath), Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears), Jamie George (Saracens), Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Joe Marler (Harlequins), George Martin (Leicester Tigers), Beno Obano (Bath), Ethan Roots (Exeter Chiefs), Will Stuart, Sam Underhill (both Bath).

Backs: Danny Care (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Saracens), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Exeter Chiefs), George Ford (Sale Sharks), Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints), George Furbank (Northampton Saints), Ollie Lawrence, Max Ojomoh (both Bath), Harry Randall (Bristol Bears), Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Fin Smith (Northampton Saints), Ben Spencer (Bath), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers), Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks).

England are seeking to make it three wins from three in this year’s Six Nations when they face Scotland, who have won the past three meetings against their old rivals. Borthwick names his team for the match on Thursday.

Cole got green light from wife to continue England career

Dan Cole was given the green light to continue his England career by wife Isobel having decided he did not want to join the contingent of players retiring after last year’s Rugby World Cup.

Cole took stock of his Test future after helping England finish third at last autumn’s global showpiece knowing that Courtney Lawes, Jonny May and Ben Youngs had already played their final international games.

The 36-year-old prop has re-established himself in the front row under Borthwick after spending three years in Red Rose exile and is eager to make the most of his time at the top.

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Sky Sports News’ Eleanor Roper and digital journalist Megan Wellens debate whether Scotland should have been awarded a try at the end of their game with France before discussing George Ford’s controversial conversion charge-down

“My wife is very understanding that I haven’t got many games left,” Cole said. “It was a joint decision.

“She understands that with Steve and the coaches that she knows from Leicester, it is a very good team environment and place to be. I won’t be doing it forever, so enjoy it.”

Cole has yet to decide on whether or not this year’s Six Nations will be his last for the national team though.

“I haven’t made up my mind,” Cole said. “I haven’t thought about it so far, we’ll see how it goes.

File photo dated 21-08-2023 of Dan Cole, who insists Argentina's scrum may lack of the potency of old but remains a significant threat to England's goal of making a triumphant start to their World Cup. Issue date: Wednesday September 6, 2023.
Image: Dan Cole decided to continue with his England career after speaking to his wife

“After the World Cup I thought about everything really. I had a conversation with Steve, and he said to me after Courtney had announced his retirement at a press conference ‘are you planning any press conferences or announcements?’.

“I said that ‘I’ve got to speak to my wife and to you Steve because if you’re not going to pick me, then I will’. He said that I’d like you to have the option [to play on]. I was like fair enough because I owe Steve a lot – and here I am.

“It’s one of those things where you never want to give up, but at the same time you can understand why boys with families do because international rugby is a tough environment to be in. It’s intense.”

Sky News
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