Gloucester’s Jonny May looks set to miss England’s first autumn international against Argentina due to a hamstring injury, while Anthony Watson and Elliot Daly look poised to start on the wings.
May’s hamstring strain has made him unlikely to participate at Twickenham on Saturday, according to forwards coach Steve Borthwick, to simplify the back three selection picture.
Daly’s rapid recovery from the knee ligament damage suffered on Wasps duty last month enables him to line up on the left wing, with Semesa Rokoduguni offering cover if May is ruled out.
“Jonny hurt his hamstring in Portugal. He’s made a lot of progress but remains unlikely for Argentina,” Borthwick said. “Daly wasn’t with us in Portugal but joined the squad on Sunday. We didn’t initially know how severe the injury was but he’s made great progress and has trained well.”
With the wing picture becoming clearer, the outstanding issues are in the midfield and back five of the forwards. One of Alex Lozowski, Henry Slade and Owen Farrell must be withdrawn from the 26 retained at the squad’s Surrey training base when the team is announced on Thursday morning.
Tom Curry and Sam Underhill are duelling for the openside spot, but both could be included in the 23 if Eddie Jones decides to rest Maro Itoje from the four locks selected.
Jones named all 10 of his available British & Irish Lions in the 26 despite previously stating he would stand them down for all or part of the autumn due to their involvement against New Zealand.
“Every day we monitor the Lions players closely. We ran several different training programs last week according to what they needed on an individual basis,” Borthwick said.