ENGLAND head coach Stuart Lancaster is facing a deepening injury crisis before Saturday’s clash with Fiji, after London Irish centre Jonathan Joseph became the sixth player to be ruled out.
Joseph missed training yesterday due to an ankle problem and is rated unlikely to practice today, leaving him no chance to prove his fitness with tomorrow being a day off and Lancaster naming his team on Thursday.
Lancaster has already had to plan for the first of this month’s four international matches without key winger Chris Ashton, who is suspended, prop Alex Corbisiero, hooker Dylan Hartley, flanker Courtney Lawes, full-back Ben Foden and centre Jordan Turner-Hall.
Wasps lock Joe Launchbury has also joined the squad as temporary cover for Tom Palmer, following the addition of Gloucester pair Freddie Burns and Billy Twelvetrees on Sunday. None of the three are likely to face Fiji.
“Tom didn’t train last week with a tight calf,” said Lancaster.
“I just want to make sure I have all the bases covered. We were also keen to get Joe in, particularly in light of his recent form.”