Ollie Lawrence could reinforce England’s Guinness Six Nations in time for their round-three clash with Scotland as he steps up his recovery from a hip problem.
Lawrence sustained the injury while on European duty for Bath against Toulouse a fortnight before the Championship began and it was initially feared he might miss the entire tournament.
But the powerful centre could return to England’s Surrey base as early as this week, boosting Steve Borthwick’s options in the number 12 jersey he would have worn against Italy last Saturday.
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“Ollie is potentially coming in at the end of this week, maybe next week. He’s not available against Wales this weekend,” attack coach Richard Wigglesworth.
England are optimistic that Ellis Genge will overcome his foot damage in time for the visit of Warren Gatland’s men to Twickenham on Saturday.
Genge withdrew from the bench on the morning of the 27-24 win in Rome with Beno Obano taking his place among the replacements.
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“Ellis took some part in training today (Tuesday) and we are hopeful that he is available for the weekend, but we’ve obviously got to get through the rest of the week,” Wigglesworth said.
Second-row George Martin is receiving treatment for his knee injury and could also be back for the trip to Murrayfield, but there is still no date set for Marcus Smith’s return from a calf problem.
Smith sustained the damage during training at England’s camp in Girona and could miss the whole Six Nations.
“It looks like it will be further back in the tournament – if we get him back. It won’t be in the next couple of weeks,” Wigglesworth said.
“Marcus has an incredible attitude. He was gutted but we were gutted as well. We know he’s an international quality player.
“We are blessed in that position because we’ve got George Ford and Fin Smith, but that doesn’t distract from what a top player he is and the impact he potentially would have had.
“His attitude was ‘I’ll just come back better’. I’ve no doubt that if we see him later in the tournament or if it’s after that then he’ll come back in and put his hand up like he did.”