England facing potential hooker crisis for Six Nations opener with Jamie George a major doubt

Major doubt: Jamie George suffered a suspected concussion in Saracens’ defeat at Edinburgh on Sunday  (Action Images via Reuters)
Major doubt: Jamie George suffered a suspected concussion in Saracens’ defeat at Edinburgh on Sunday (Action Images via Reuters)

England are facing a potential Six Nations hooker crisis, with Jamie George and George McGuigan major doubts for the opener against Scotland.

Saracens’ 72-cap front-rower George suffered a suspected concussion in Sunday’s 20-14 Champions Cup defeat at Edinburgh, and faces a race against time to be ready for theTwickenham opener on February 4.

Gloucester’s McGuigan withdrew from England’s training squad on Monday, due to a knee injury. Bath’s Tom Dunn has joined the squad as a replacement for McGuigan, with Harlequins’ uncapped Jack Walker the only other fit hooker in England’s ranks.

Exeter’s Luke Cowan-Dickie will miss at least the first few weeks of the Six Nations due to an ankle problem.

New head coach Steve Borthwick refused to rule out either George or McGuigan from England’s first clash, but both face a battle to be ready. Vice-captain Courtney Lawes will also miss training this week due to a calf problem.

“George and Courtney are out of training this week,” said Borthwick. “That’s definite, but it doesn’t mean that they will miss next week, as it stands.

“We’ll get them both scanned, get the full information and then make a plan. Jamie will go through the return-to-play protocols.”

Three-cap hooker Dunn has not featured for England since 2020, but continues to be an abrasive, gritty performer for Bath.

“I know Jamie pretty well, I know how desperate he is to play for England,” said Borthwick. “But also we now get to see Jack Walker, Tom Dunn, players who will give everything they can to have the chance to play for England.

“Tom coaches Chippenham minis, which is where my two boys play. I’ve known him for a few years, he’s a great character. We’ve got a lot of players with a massive hunger to get out there and win for England.”