Morgan pencilled in for Italy Test
February 18, 2013
England hope to have Ben Morgan back in the mix for Italy © Getty Images
Morgan was injured in the opening-day victory over Scotland and has been pencilled in to return against Italy on March 10. He has joined fly-half Freddie Burns on the sidelines, with his Gloucester team-mate receiving treatment for a knee problem. With Morgan out injured, James Haskell got the nod for their match against Ireland on February 10 but Lancaster is expecting to call upon Morgan's services for the match against the Azzurri.
"Morgan and Burns are making slow progress," Lancaster said. "Freddie is further down the line, but they won't play this weekend so it will be another week or so.
"Ben will be fine. It's an ankle injury similar to the one Manu Tuilagi had. Manu was out for four or five weeks and Ben will be about the same. He wants to get himself right so he can push for selection against Italy."
Centre Jonathan Joseph has been ruled out for two weeks with a toe injury, but full-back Ben Foden has made good progress in his battle with ankle damage and will play for Northampton against Bath on Saturday. Fly-half Toby Flood and flanker Haskell missed training on Monday because of a tight calf and flu respectively.
England resume their Six Nations against France on Saturday as the only team still capable of winning the Grand Slam. Les Bleus limp into Twickenham on the back of successive defeats to Italy and Wales and with coach Philippe Saint-Andre under attack over selection, but Lancaster insists they remain formidable opposition.
"If you look at their performances in the autumn, the three wins over Samoa, Argentina and Australia show they are not a bad side," he said. "They beat Australia 33-6 and Australia then beat us. While we'll take something out of their first two Six Nations games, we'll also take something out of those autumn internationals and make sure we're ready for them."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the remarkable events in Brisbane and the first round of the European Rugby Champions Cup
Following Saturday's shock announcement, we look at the highs and the lows of Ewen McKenzie's brief stint as Wallabies coach.
"I think the work I do in defence gets spoken of a little too much as it comes at the expense of what I do in attack." Brad Barritt talks to Tom Hamilton
The European Champions Cup: what's changed and what's new in the revamped competition previously known as the Heineken Cup?