Nowell and May given clean bill of health for semi-final
England are expected to have a fully-fit squad for the first time in their World Cup campaign when they face New Zealand on Saturday, with Jack Nowell and Jonny May both expected to be available.
Nowell, who missed the quarterfinal victory over Australia on Saturday, is on course to recover from a hamstring injury, having made a try-scoring return from a long-term lay-off in the pool victory over Argentina.
May, meanwhile, suffered a minor hamstring injury of his own
after scoring two first-half tries on his 50th international appearance in the 40-16 victory over the Wallabies.
“Jonny’s bouncing around this morning. He has a small twinge and we’ll assess where he is a little bit later today,” Neal Hatley, the England scrum coach, said yesterday.
“He’s in really good spirits, moving well, and we expect Jack to be fit for selection as well.
“It’s fantastic where we are – all 31 being available for selection at the end of the week.”
Hatley has also spoken about the boost of having Mako Vunipola fit again after his summer lay-off.
Vunipola, who started against Australia having been limited to just 17 minutes of rugby since May 11 when he came off the bench as a replacement in the win over Argentina, delivered a hugely impressive display.
“We were unbelievably impressed by Mako. He continues to go from strength to strength,”
Hatley said. “And he needs to because Ellis Genge and Joe Marler have been ferocious in training and everyone’s putting the pressure on.
“We’ve talked before about this team of 31, and everyone’s doing their part, but Mako, when he plays well like he did, is a real force.
“Without sounding massively blase about it, I wasn’t surprised at the performance that he turned in, but I can understand why people outside of our group would look at it and go, ‘That’s a hell of a performance’. ”
England will name their team to face New Zealand on Thursday morning.
Real force: Mako Vunipola was impressive after starting the game against Australia