Kyle Sinckler’s availability for the Guinness Six Nations match between England and Wales has been called into question by a facial injury.
Sinckler has been left out of a 26-man squad that will take part in a three-day training camp in London this week, although he will be on hand to receive treatment from England’s medics.
The Bristol prop took off as a blood substitute in the 50th minute of Saturday’s 31-14 win over Italy and failed to return, leaving Dan Cole to finish the match on a tight head.
Sinckler impressed against Scotland and Italy, playing his part in England’s revival and showing a high work rate on both sides of the ball, and hopefully he can recover in time for Saturday’s trip to Cardiff.
At least Steve Borthwick can call on Will Stuart as his replacement, although he will be concerned about the lack of front row playing time at Bath despite being in the 26.
Stuart has not played since he dislocated his elbow in the autumn’s climax against South Africa and his most recent club outing was against Saracens in October when he was again ruled out with a knee injury.
If Sinckler’s wound doesn’t heal enough, Cole and Stuart will battle for the number three jersey against Warren Gatland’s men.
Courtney Lawes will also be treated in camp filling the first week of the break in hopes of meeting Wales, who are battling a calf injury that has so far prevented him from taking part in the Six Nations.
Sale flanker Ben Curry is present despite a retirement against Italy, but there is no room for his twin brother Tom who is close to recovering from a hamstring injury.
As a sign that Manu Tuilagi has dropped down the pecking order, he has been left out of 26, along with Henry Slade, Ollie Lawrence and Joe Marchant, the specialist centers mentioned by Borthwick.
England U20 players join their senior counterparts to increase training sessions.
Training team England:
Forwards: O Chessum (Leicester Tigers), D Cole (Leicester Tigers), B Curry (Sale Sharks), A Dombrandt (Harlequins), B Earl (Saracens), E Genge (Bristol Bears), J George (Saracens), N Isiekwe (Saracens), M Itoje (Saracens), L Ludlam (Northampton Saints), W Stuart (Bath Rugby), M Vunipola (Saracens), J Walker (Harlequins), J Willis (Toulouse).
Backs: H Arundell (London Irish), O Farrell (Saracens), O Hassell-Collins (London Irish), O Lawrence (Bath Rugby), M Malins (Saracens), J Marchant (Harlequins), A Mitchell (Northampton Saints), H Slade (Exeter Chiefs), M Smith (Harlequins), F Steward (Leicester Tigers), J van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers), A Watson (Leicester Tigers).