England’s World Cup squad is struggling through both illness and injuries while they prepare for the decisive match against France on Saturday.
England and France have both progressed to the World Cup quarter-finals, but will clash in Yokohama for first and second place in Pool C.
However, neither team’s preparations for the Test seem to be going as planned. Local reports in France suggest there has been a rift between players and coaches after Guilhelm Guirado was ousted as captain of the team.
England, meanwhile, have had their training sessions limited by illness and injuries. According to the Independent, captain Owen Farrell was among those affected as he missed Tuesday’s training session with a stomach bug. Replacement hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie has also been affected by the bug.
There are also injury concerns over Billy Vunipola, Jack Nowell and Joe Marler. Vunipola picked up an ankle injury against Argentina last weekend and has been wearing a protective boot this week, while Marler is struggling with a knock to his back.
Assistant coach Scott Wisemantel was confident about Farrell’s availability, despite the flyhalf also taking head-high shots in the games against Argentina and the USA.
‘I don’t think the bump had any effect on him,’ Wisemantel said. ‘I asked after the game, he said he felt pretty good, just a bit clunky with a few of the plays. But I thought he did outstandingly well.’
George Ford would certainly start his eighth consecutive match if Farrell is ruled out. Should Marler not be passed fit, England do have Mako Vunipola back as the loosehead made his comeback off the bench against Argentina.
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