England are sweating over the availability of Joe Cokanasiga and Mark Wilson for their World Cup opener against Tonga on Sunday.
According to The Guardian, the pair missed what was England’s first couple of full sessions since arriving in Japan due to knee injuries.
Defence coach John Mitchell confirmed that Cokanasiga (wing) and Wilson (flank) will be assessed later in the week, though they will likely have to prove their fitness by Thursday’s main training day if they are to feature in selection plans for the opening fixture in Sapporo.
‘When guys get knocks and niggles they go through a rehab process based on a specific injury,’ Mitchell said.
‘Like anything, you want to return back into the way that we train, so it’s important that you increase their high speed and ability to accelerate and cope with the way we do train. That’s generally the model or process for everyone, not just Mark and Joe.’
When asked if the duo are likely to prove their fitness in time, Mitchell remained coy.
‘At this point I can’t give you that information. At this stage no one knows who is selected. Obviously Eddie will make that decision in a few days time.’
England kick off their campaign against Tonga on Sunday, 22 September, followed by matches against the USA on 26 September and Argentina and France on 5 and 12 October, respectively.
Photo: Neill Hall/EPA