Owen Farrell not fit to play Italy

Owen Farrell will miss England’s game against Italy on Sunday because of a thigh injury.

The England fly-half picked up the injury in the 23-13 win over France ten days ago but is expected to be fit for selection against Wales on the final weekend as Stuart Lancaster’s men seek England’s first Grand Slam since 2003.

Considering the Saracens playmaker’s form, his absence is a major blow but Lancaster will call on the experienced Toby Flood to lead the attack this time around.

“Owen’s still got the quad injury which I want to make sure has settled down completely,” he said.

“We’re pretty confident that Owen will be fit for next week.

“We still have a decision to make on the bench and we’ll make that over the course of the next two days.

Meanwhile, Tom Croft, who had been expected to miss the entire Six Nations campaign having only recently returned to fitness after his neck injury, has been recalled and will train with the 36-man squad this week.

“Tom has been seen by a specialist, played back-to-back games and played 80 minutes at the weekend and did extremely well,” Lancaster added.

“In consultation with the medical teams and (Leicester director of rugby) Richard Cockerill, we’ve brought him back into the camp. He’s available for Italy and Wales.”

“Tom is one of our most experienced players who has played at the highest level,” Lancaster added.

Gloucester’s No.8 Ben Morgan’s appears to have lost his fitness battle for this weekend as he’s trying to shake off an ankle injury so barnstorming Billy Vunipola could be named on the bench.

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