Saturday 19 October 2019

Injury puts Itoje in doubt for remainder of Championship

Itoje’s participation against Italy is now in real doubt. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.
Itoje’s participation against Italy is now in real doubt. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

Ben Coles

England have called up Bath lock Charlie Ewels as injury cover for Maro Itoje, who is now in doubt for the Six Nations match against Italy on Saturday following an apparent setback in his recovery from a medial ligament injury.

The injury occurred when the England squad were taking part in an attacking passing exercise at their Pennyhill Park training base near to the posts with head coach Eddie Jones acting as defender.

As Itoje went to step around Jones, the lock noticeably grimaced after stepping off his right leg before going to ground.

The 24-year-old then limped away and was seen talking to physios on the sidelines before leaving the training field.

Tweak

Before England's latest squad update was released yesterday evening, Scott Wisemantel, the attack coach, played down the seriousness of Itoje's withdrawal, describing the incident only as a "minor tweak".

The decision to call up Ewels as injury cover, however, suggests that Itoje's participation against Italy is now in real doubt.

Itoje originally damaged ligaments in his right knee in England's opening Six Nations victory over Ireland last month, forcing him to miss the past two fixtures, against France and Wales.

Wisemantel dismissed the suggestion that Itoje had been rushed back into action too soon.

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"I don't think so, no. That's not the case. It's quite minor. Our medical staff have done a great job. You can take that doom-and-gloom approach, but the reality is that the medical staff have worked hard and done a brilliant job," Wisemantel explained. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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