England captain Courtney Lawes a doubt for autumn internationals after pulling out of training camp

England rugby captain Courtney Lawes is a doubt for the autumn internationals after pulling out of next week’s training camp, as the Northampton star continues to recover from concussion

  • Courtney Lawes suffered a head injury against Leicester Tigers last month
  • The England captain has not played since as he recovers from concussion
  • He has pulled out of England’s training camp that will take place next week
  • London Irish’s Tom Pearson has been drafted into the squad as injury cover

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Courtney Lawes has been ruled out of England’s pre-autumn training camp in Jersey next week, increasing the prospect of Owen Farrell regaining the Test captaincy for the first time in a year.

Northampton’s veteran forward lasted just 49 minutes of the Saints’ defeat against Leicester in an East Midlands derby on September 24, after suffering a head injury. He has not played since, and that was Lawes’ first appearance since leading England to series victory over Australia during the tour Down Under in July.

The 33-year-old Lawes has previously managed to perform impressively at international level despite a shortage of game-time, but barely a half of rugby in almost four months would pose a particularly acute challenge.

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Courtney Lawes has pulled out of a training camp as he continues to recover from concussion

It will be a blow for Eddie Jones, who has drafted Tom Pearson into the squad as cover

He has been working through return-to-play protocols with his club and had just taken part in a contact session before being named by Red Rose head coach Eddie Jones in a squad to prepare for the four-match November programme at Twickenham.

However, the RFU confirmed yesterday that Lawes would not be joining up with England for their five-day camp ahead of the opening encounter with Argentina on November 6. His place has been taken by uncapped London Irish rookie Tom Pearson.

Jones won’t name his line-up to face the Pumas until November 4 so, in theory, Lawes has time to recover and prove himself available for selection. 

Lawes led England to a series victory in Australia in July but has been out of action for a month

But in reality, the line-up is often decided early for first Tests of a campaign, so Tom Curry could switch to blindside, with Jack Willis or Lewis Ludlam in the mix for the openside berth. 

But England face a dearth of third lineout-jumper options, with the likes of Nick Isiekwe and Ollie Chessum already ruled out. The captaincy is the other big issue, in the event of Lawes being unfit to play against Argentina. 

Jones has spoken of the need for a charm offensive with officials, which hinted at the aggressive Farrell remaining in the ranks, but he may now find himself wearing the armband again, for his 98th England appearance.

Saracens’ playmaker-skipper hasn’t led the national side since the win over Australia last November at Twickenham.

Merry

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