Lancaster reveals Morgan’s close to return

ENGLAND coach Stuart Lancaster has revealed No8 Ben Morgan will be pushing for a return to action in the penultimate RBS Six Nations match against Italy on 10 March, but will miss Saturday’s visit of France. The Gloucester forward suffered an ankle injury in England’s opening match of the tournament against Scotland and will sit out Saturday’s clash at Twickenham. However, Lancaster has played down fears that Morgan could miss the rest of the championships and believes he still has a part to play in securing England their second title in three years. “Ben will be fine,” Lancaster said. “He wants to get himself right so he can push for selection against Italy.” Fly-half Freddie Burns and centre Jonathan Joseph are definitely out of Saturday’s match, while full back Ben Foden will play for club side Northampton as he continues to regain match fitness following an ankle injury. Consequently, London-based trio Elliot Daly, Will Fraser and Joel Tomkins will train with England this week and could be named in Lancaster’s match-day 23, with the selection announcement scheduled to be made on Thursday. England are the only remaining unbeaten side in this year’s championships, while pre- tournament favourites France have f lattered to deceive with back-to- back defeats against Italy and Wales. However, Lancaster admits it would be a big mistake to take France lightly. “If you look at their performances in the autumn, the three wins over Samoa, Argentina and Australia show France are not a bad side,” he added. “They beat Australia 33-6 and Australia then beat us. “While we’ll take something out of their first two Six Nations games, we’ll also take something out of those autumn internationals and make sure we’re ready for them.”