England: Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi sent back to their clubs as Steve Borthwick confirms 26-man training squad

Colin Newboult

England's Ben Youngs (right), Manu Tuilagi, Maro Itoje and George Ford prior to the 2019 Rugby World Cup Quarter Final match at Oita Stadium, Oita, Japan.

Experienced England internationals Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi have received a blow to their hopes of facing Wales after being left out of a 26-man training squad.

Both were absent from the 23, which defeated Italy 31-14 at the weekend, but Steve Borthwick played down their respective omissions.

The head coach has stated that selection is done on a game-by-game basis, but this decision suggests that Youngs and Tuilagi are not in Borthwick’s plans at the moment.

The former came off the bench in their opening clash against Scotland, but after struggling in that match, he was replaced by Alex Mitchell in the 23 to face the Azzurri.

There was some suggestion that the second round encounter with the traditional Six Nations strugglers was the ideal clash to give Mitchell some game time.

However, Youngs’ absence now appears set to be longer term after he was left out of this week’s camp in London.

Ollie Lawrence over Tuilagi

Tuilagi is another interesting absentee, with Ollie Lawrence nailing down the 12 shirt with a man-of-the-match performance on Sunday.

The Sale Sharks centre has not featured in either contest so far and will now look to get some minutes under his belt when the Premiership resumes this weekend.

Elsewhere, tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler is a doubt for the Wales match after suffering a facial issue, but that blow is softened slightly by the return of Will Stuart.

Courtney Lawes is close to a return as he continues to make progress following a calf strain, while Tom Curry is also not far off, although neither will be involved in the three-day training camp.

An RFU statement said: “Bath prop Will Stuart returns to the squad, whilst Courtney Lawes and Kyle Sinckler – who sustained a facial injury in Sunday’s match against Italy – will also be in camp to undertake rehab work.

“The camp will take place at The Lensbury, Teddington, where they will be joined by a group of players from England U20s for training sessions.”

England have so far won one and lost one in the 2023 Six Nations, with their next match coming against basement-dwellers Wales.

After that encounter, they take on France at Twickenham before finishing against title favourites Ireland, who may be going into that game with a Grand Slam on the line.

England’s 26-man squad for training camp

Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Dan Cole, Ben Curry, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Lewis Ludlam, Will Stuart, Mako Vunipola, Jack Walker, Jack Willis

Backs: Henry Arundell, Owen Farrell, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Ollie Lawrence, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Alex Mitchell, Henry Slade, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Jack van Poortvliet, Anthony Watson

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