Northampton centre Luther Burrell has been drafted into England’s Six Nations squad ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Ireland after Ollie Devoto was ruled out through injury.
Uncapped Devoto was concussed in Bath’s 24-18 Premiership defeat to Wasps on Saturday, meaning he is set for an enforced two-week rest that makes him a doubt for the rest of the championship.
No8 Josh Beaumont is also out of the Ireland game, and perhaps the rest of the tournament, after he dislocated a shoulder in Sale’s weekend loss to Worcester.
Burrell did not feature in England head coach Eddie Jones’s initial Six Nations squad after struggling to come to terms with being left out of the squad for last autumn’s World Cup.
But the 28-year-old has been called into Jones’s 32-man party, with Leicester’s Manu Tuilagi, a likely starter when fit, not considered ready to return to Test action yet following a hamstring injury.
Burrell was part of the Northampton side beaten 26-25 by struggling Newcastle hours earlier, despite a spirited second-half fightback from the visitors.
London Irish remain bottom and five points from safety after slipping to a 22-15 loss at home to Exeter, for whom fly-half Gareth Steenson kicked 17 points.
A try from flanker Ofisa Treviranus gave the Exiles a slim half-time lead but replacement Dave Lewis crossed for the Chiefs and they held on despite wing Topsy Ojo touching down again for Irish.