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Courtney Lawes withdraws injured from England Six Nations squad vs France | Marcus Smith retained over George Ford

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England head coach Steve Borthwick announces retained Six Nations squad of 27 players ahead of Test vs France at Twickenham on Saturday (4.45pm). Northampton Saints forward Courtney Lawes withdraws due to shoulder injury; Marcus Smith retained over George Ford

Last Updated: 07/03/23 4:41pm


Courtney Lawes has been forced to withdraw from England’s Six Nations squad due to a shoulder injury

Courtney Lawes has withdrawn from England’s Six Nations squad due to take on France with a shoulder injury, while Marcus Smith has been retained over George Ford in the 27-player group.

Head coach Steve Borthwick originally announced a 36-player training squad, but reduced that on Tuesday ahead of England’s Round 4 clash against Les Bleus at Twickenham on Saturday (4.45pm kick-off).

Fly-half Smith, who was not retained to train with the England squad during the most recent fallow week break – while Sale fly-half Ford did remain in camp – comes straight back into contention for selection this weekend.

Smith started in defeat vs Scotland, before playing cameos in victories over Italy and Wales – the latter an appearance of less than one minute – as Borthwick selected skipper Owen Farrell as his starting No 10.

Marcus Smith has been retained in the 27-player group, despite not remaining with England during the fallow week

Marcus Smith has been retained in the 27-player group, despite not remaining with England during the fallow week

In addition to Lawes’ injury, four forwards were released in Bath hooker Tom Dunn, Leicester tighthead Joe Heyes, Sale loosehead Bevan Rodd and Exeter back-row Sam Simmonds.

While three additional backs were released, in addition to Ford, in the shape of Northampton wing Tommy Freeman, Harlequins wing Cadan Murley and Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs.

George Ford has been released back to club Sale Sharks

George Ford has been released back to club Sale Sharks

Borthwick will announce his starting XV and replacements for Saturday’s Test on Thursday, with Sale centre Manu Tuilagi a surprising inclusion in the current 27-player squad, due to the fact he remains suspended this weekend.

England’s 27-player squad to take on France in Six Nations

Forwards (15): Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 8 caps), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 98 caps), Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, 3 caps), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 12 caps), Ben Earl (Saracens, 15 caps), Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 46 caps), Jamie George (Saracens, 75 caps), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 10 caps), Maro Itoje (Saracens, 65 caps), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 17 caps), David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, 3 caps), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 59 caps), Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 77 caps), Jack Walker (Harlequins, 2 caps), Jack Willis (Toulouse, 8 caps).

Backs (12): Henry Arundell (London Irish, 5 caps), Owen Farrell (Saracens, 104 caps), Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 10 caps), Max Malins (Saracens, 17 caps), Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 14 caps), Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 3 caps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 54 caps), Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 20 caps), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 20 caps), Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 50 caps), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 10 caps) Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers, 53 caps).

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