Chessum injury blow for Borthwick
GEORGE FORD has been declared ‘fit and ready’ for England’s trip to Ireland but breakthrough forward Ollie Chessum has been ruled out. Having been sent back to Sale to continue his return from injury, Ford is now in contention to challenge Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell for the No 10 jersey. Head coach Steve Borthwick must decide whether to stick or twist on his playmaker, having retained all three for Saturday’s game in Dublin. But there will also be enforced changes as Chessum injured his ankle in training yesterday, joining centre Ollie Lawrence on the sidelines. Flanker George Martin was drafted into the 30-man squad last night, with Nick Isiekwe, Dave Ribbans and Jonny Hill all in contention to fill in at lock. Centre Manu Tuilagi has also been retained after completing his suspension for a red card. Reflecting on Saturday’s 53-10 drubbing by France, defence coach Kevin Sinfield said: ‘It’s been tough. Any time you get 50 stuck on your chin it’s not nice. It’s about getting the balance right between giving those guys another shot but also making sure that the selection is right for the opposition we’re playing. ‘This is a huge bump in the road but we don’t throw our toys out of the pram. ‘Handling it is really important, people deal with it very differently. It’s almost a form of grief but we worked through it.’
Veteran scrum-half Ben Youngs was once again sent back to his club, meaning Jack van Poortvliet and Alex Mitchell will both feature in the closing fixture.