England will have second-row Dave Attwood back in camp on Thursday after his fiancee gave birth to their first child on Tuesday.
England will have second-row Dave Attwood back in camp on Thursday after his fiancee successfully gave birth to their first child on Tuesday.
An already injury-hit side, without locks Geoff Parling, Joe Launchbury and Ed Slater, were facing the prospect of yet more disruption when Attwood left camp on Tuesday to attend the birth.
That led to speculation he could miss Saturday’s match if he not return in time but after both he and fiancee Bridget had promised England forwards coach Graham Rowntree he would be back in time, Attwood’s partner duly delivered on Tuesday.
“Massive thanks from everyone,” Attwood said on Twitter. “@briewhelan was a superstar. Everyone is doing amazingly well. Couldn’t be happier.”
Earlier, Rowntree said: “Dave has gone home, his wife’s in labour. They’ve both promised me their baby will be delivered in the next couple of days! Hopefully that will be sorted for the weekend.
“He’s in his car and on his way home, so good luck to them both.”
Attwood is now in line to start against New Zealand, the first match of a November campaign for World Cup hosts England that also sees them facing South Africa, Samoa and Australia.
Saturday’s match is set to be Attwood’s third successive appearance against the All Blacks after the 27-year-old twice came on as a replacement during the 3-0 series loss in June.
“We’re very confident in Dave. The Tests against New Zealand in the summer gave him a taste of high-class rugby,” Rowntree said.
“He enjoyed it and he’s gone back, got himself very fit and shed some weight.
“His game involvement has increased sufficiently and he’s played exceptionally well in Bath’s pack, so I’m more than happy with him.”