ENGLAND lock Simon Shaw has lost his battle to be fit for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland at Murrayfield after failing to recover from a shoulder injury.
The 36-year-old was helped off in the opening few minutes of England’s defeat to Ireland at Twickenham 10 days ago and now faces a fitness race for the showdown with France in Paris later thi month.
Shaw’s injury heaps concern on England coach Martin Johnson, who has made no fewer than five reinforcements to his training squad.
Stade Francais lock Tom Palmer comes in as a replacement for his former Wasps team-mate Shaw, although Leicester’s Louis Deacon and Northampton’s Courtney Lawes top the pecking order.
There is also a recall for experienced centre Mike Tindall, left, who won the last of his 60 caps against Scotland in 2009, and comes in for Leicester centre Dan Hipkiss, who is still struggling with an ankle problem.
Tindall, 31, staked his claim for a recall with a magnificent try for Gloucester against Wasps on Sunday in only his second game back from a major hamstring injury which kept him on the sidelines for over four months.
Asked about a possible recall at the weekend, Tindall replied: “It would be very nice but I would be surprised.”
Johnson’s biggest injury concern is full-back Delon Armitage, although the London Irish back is said to be progressing well from the rib problem suffered against the Irish.
Gloucester’s Olly Morgan comes in as cover, but if Armitage does miss out, then Northampton’s Ben Foden is in line for only a third cap.
Definitely out, however, is Wasps No8 Dan Ward-Smith, who suffered knee ligament damage at the weekend, so Leeds Carnegie flanker Hendre Fourie earns his first senior call-up.
Johnson is also hoping fly-half Toby Flood can recover from a kick in the head suffered while on Premiership duty for Leicester against London Irish on Saturday.
Flood is being assessed by the England medics, so Northampton’s Shane Geraghty is waiting in the wings as back up.