England have suffered injury damage ahead of the Six Nations showdown with Ireland after Ollie Chessum was ruled out with an ankle problem.
Chessum suffered the injury in training on Tuesday and will miss the climax of the championship at St Patrick’s weekend, which takes place in Dublin.
The 22-year-old has impressed at the Six Nations and his absence will deal a blow to Steve Borthwick as they look to recover from defeat by France.
It will now be a choice between David Ribbans, Nick Isiekwe, George Martin and Jonny Hill as to who partners Maro Itoje for the game at the Aviva Stadium.
Chessum ruled out
“Ollie will be a great loss. He’s been great for us. We played him on the second row, but he also covers the back row for us,” said defensive coach Kevin Sinfield.
Chessum joins another starter from that loss to France on the touchline ahead of this weekend, with center Ollie Lawrence out with a hamstring injury.
However, a 30-man roster named on Tuesday suggests Borthwick may not replace Lawrence with Manu Tuilagi as he retains three flying halves in his roster.
That means England could opt to move captain Owen Farrell back to centre-back, with Marcus Smith and George Ford being the other options at No. 10 in Dublin.
“It’s about finding the right balance, giving these guys another chance, but also making sure the selection is right for the opponent we’re playing against, which is what we’ve been trying to do throughout the season,” Sinfield said team selection .
“We tried to choose a team that suits our style of play as well as the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.
“We will stay on the same subject but the balance between the two will be crucial for us this weekend.”
The record-breaking defeat at Twickenham was hard for the England players to take as Sinfield revealed the defeat over the weekend, hurting the team deeply.
“It was hard. Every time you pin 50 to your chin, it’s not pretty,” he said.
“You’re probably getting a little less sleep because you’re thinking about things and trying to understand why, but we’ve been working incredibly hard over the past few days to try and fix some of the areas where we’ve fallen short – and there are quite a few.
“The players have been hit pretty hard, as you’d expect from a result like this, but we’ve stuck together and we’re fighting through as a team, squad and staff to make sure we keep moving forward.
“This would never be a straight line and it would never be straight.
“If you deliver 50 points and you’re in charge of defense, that doesn’t suit you. I’m certainly not putting this on the players’ door. We’re all in this together and have to work our way through it.
“For whatever reason, we didn’t show up on Saturday. It’s our job to fix this and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“It shouldn’t have happened on Saturday but what’s done is done, we’re learning the lessons, picking the bones from it and making sure we’re better this weekend.”
Forward: Dan Cole, Ben Curry, Alex Dombrandt, Tom Dunn, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Jonny Hill, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Lewis Ludlam, George Martin, David Ribbans, Bevan Rodd, Kyle Sinckler, Mako Vunipola, Jack Walker, Jack Willis
Move: Henry Arundell, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Alex Mitchell, Henry Slade, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Jack van Poortvliet, Anthony Watson
CONTINUE READING: Six Nations: Marcus Smith believes England are ready to ‘stand up and fight’ against Ireland
The article England: Ollie Chessum ruled out in Six Nations final v Ireland appeared first on Planetrugby.com.