Henry Slade joins England injury list ahead of Six Nations to miss Scotland opener

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Henry Slade will miss England’s Six Nations opener against Scotland with a hip injury.

Exeter playmaker Slade’s absence is the latest blow to new head coach Steve Borthwick, off the back of Elliot Daly’s 12-week hamstring injury that has put the Saracens star out of the full tournament.

Slade suffered a hip complaint in Exeter’s Champions Cup clash with Castres, and will not recover in time for Saturday’s opener against Scotland at Twickenham.

Vice-captain Courtney Lawes has been officially ruled out of the Scotland clash too, with the Northampton powerhouse unable to shake off a gluteal problem in time.

New England boss Borthwick had refused to give up hope on Lawes last week, but the experienced back-five forward will not be fit in time to take on the Scots.

Leicester’s Anthony Watson has been recalled to the squad in a big plus however, with the speed king having proved his fitness after a leg issue that followed a long-term Achilles injury. Watson has not played for England since 2021 but his game-breaking abilities will offset the loss of Saracens’ Daly.

Hooker Jamie George has returned to the squad as the Saracens star continues his return to play protocols after concussion. The 32-year-old still has a chance of being passed fit to face Scotland, but must come through a number of concussion recovery tests to be available.

Slade and Lawes will stay with the England camp this week, with both experienced stars eyeing recoveries to feature later in the tournament.

“This is a very important week for us,” said Borthwick. “We know that Scotland are an excellent side with a great coaching team led by Gregor Townsend.

“They’re a settled squad who have been together a long time and have dominated this fixture in recent seasons. We know we have a lot of work to do. The team trained very hard last week and are ready to go again.”

Full England squad

Forwards: O Chessum, D Cole (both Leicester), B Curry (Sale), A Dombrandt (Harlequins), T Dunn (Bath), B Earl (Saracens), E Genge (Bristol), J George (Saracens), J Heyes (Leicester), J Hill (Sale), N Isiekwe, M Itoje (both Saracens), L Ludlam, D Ribbans (both Northampton), B Rodd (Sale), S Simmonds (Exeter), K Sinckler (Bristol), M Vunipola (Saracens), J Walker (Harlequins), J Willis (Toulouse).

Backs: O Farrell (Saracens), T Freeman (Northampton), O Hassell-Collins (London Irish), D Kelly (Leicester), O Lawrence (Bath), M Malins (Saracens), J Marchant (Harlequins), A Mitchell (Northampton), C Murley (Harlequins), F Smith (Northampton), M Smith (Harlequins), F Steward (Leicester), M Tuilagi (Sale), J Van Poortvliet, A Watson, B Youngs (all Leicester).