Ollie Lawrence ruled out of England’s Autumn Nations Cup showdown with Wales

By Duncan Bech, PA England Rugby Correspondent
·3-min read

England will finish their Autumn Nations Cup pool campaign without Ollie Lawrence after the Worcester centre was ruled out of Saturday’s clash with Wales because of a hip injury.

Lawrence played 69 minutes of last weekend’s 18-7 victory over Ireland but he has since been troubled by the issue to his joint and he has been rested for the climax to Group A.

The 21-year completed his debut in the Six Nations title-clinching win against Italy at the start of the autumn and has made successive starts at outside centre since.

Lawrence has made an encouraging start to his international career and was given his most prominent role yet when Ireland were toppled at Twickenham.

In the injury-enforced absence of Manu Tuilagi, England have been looking to Lawrence to make hard yards in midfield but the experiment will come to a half in Llanelli.

“Ollie has a little niggle around his abductor and hip area, nothing major but it is a niggle that is concerning him,” defence coach John Mitchell said.

“Ollie has huge potential as a centre. He is very talented in terms of running onto the ball and he has got exceptional ability to line break.”

Eddie Jones has retained a 25-man squad to continue preparations for the clash with struggling Wales.

Joe Marler could play a role against Wales
Joe Marler could play a role against Wales (Adam Davy/PA)

Among the 10 backs remaining in camp is Anthony Watson, who has recovered from an ankle injury sustained in the rearranged match against Italy.

Watson could be immediately restored to the right wing, thereby ending the experiment of playing Jonathan Joseph out wide, while George Ford is likely to profit from Lawrence’s injury by being reinstated at fly-half with Owen Farrell and Henry Slade forming the centres.

Jones has given himself more options up front by keeping 15 forwards in Teddington, among them Luke Cowan-Dickie who will make his first appearance of the autumn after being preferred to Tom Dunn for the role of hooker cover for Jamie George.

Jack Willis makes the cut after losing out against Ireland and is pushing hard to win his second cap having impressed on his debut when the Autumn Nations Cup opened against Georgia.

And for the first time in a campaign that began in Rome last month, Joe Marler will be in contention for a place in the 23 named by Jones on Thursday morning after winning his battle with a knee issue.

It would be Marler’s first Test appearance since grabbing the genitals of Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones at Twickenham in March, an offence that resulted in a 10-week ban.

England 25-man squad: Backs: E Daly (Saracens), O Farrell (Saracens), G Ford (Leicester Tigers), J Joseph (Bath Rugby), M Malins (Bristol Bears), J May (Gloucester Rugby), D Robson (Wasps), H Slade (Exeter Chiefs), A Watson (Bath Rugby), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

Forwards: L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), T Curry (Sale Sharks), B Earl (Bristol Bears), E Genge (Leicester Tigers), J George (Saracens), J Hill (Exeter Chiefs), M Itoje (Saracens), J Launchbury (Wasps), J Marler (Harlequins), K Sinckler (Bristol Bears), W Stuart (Bath Rugby), S Underhill (Bath Rugby), B Vunipola (Saracens), M Vunipola (Saracens), J Willis (Wasps).