Ed Slater and Yorkshireman Luther Burrell have been called up to the England training squad as replacements for injured duo Courtney Lawes and Marland Yarde.
Northampton lock Courtney Lawes damaged his ankle during Saturday’s Aviva Premiership win at Saracens while Harlequins wing Yarde sustained a shoulder injury during his side’s loss to Sale.
Their places have been taken by Leicester forward Slater and Northampton centre Burrell in England’s 33-man squad which linked up at Pennyhill Park last night to prepare for next weekend’s crunch RBS 6 Nations showdown with Wales.
Bath centre Ollie Devoto, having recovered from concussion, is also part of the group, as is Leicester powerhouse Manu Tuilagi.
Tuilagi has not played for England since 2014 due to injury but remains in line for a return to international action against Wales – even though Leicester coach Richard Cockerill does not believe he is ready yet.
Speaking after Tuilagi scored his first Premiership try of the season during the Tigers’ 31-27 win over Exeter yesterday, Cockerill said: “Manu did some good things today but I don’t think he is ready to play Test rugby.
‘’Even if you put him on the bench to be an impact player for the last half an hour, what happens if you have to put him on after five minutes?’’
Liam Williams is set for a Twickenham return next Saturday – five months after crying alone in the changing room as his World Cup dream cruelly ended when he broke his foot in the final pool game with Australia.
Victory over England at Twickenham – a feat Wales have achieved three times during Warren Gatland’s coaching reign – would then leave Williams and company needing to beat Italy in Cardiff seven days later, therefore guaranteeing Six Nations silverware.
Williams said: “England are different to the team that played at the World Cup because they have a new head coach. I think they have tweaked a few things. Obviously, we will be looking at them, but if we get our own house in order then there isn’t an international team that we can’t go out and beat.”