Chris Ashton appears likely to be watching on from the sidelines when England take on Australia at Twickenham this Saturday.
The Sale Sharks wing is being assessed for a calf injury by the England medical team and forwards coach Steve Borthwick is due to provide an update Tuesday afternoon.
The injury halts Ashton‘s re-entry to the international stage with England, playing a part in all three of the team’s autumn internationals so far and picked by head coach Eddie Jones to start against the All Blacks.
The 31-year-old boosted his chances of being involved with England in the lead up to next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan by ending a three-year stint with Toulon to sign for Sale.
The doubt surrounding Ashton allows Jonny May and Jack Nowell to put forward a strong case as England’s starting wing duo, while Joe Cokanasiga is also in the mix after scoring a try on debut in the 35-15 win over Japan.
Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika has more pressing concerns to deal with ahead of naming his team on Thursday.
Back row juggernaut David Pocock exited the team’s match in Padova against Italy after being struck on the head.
Eddie Jones couldn’t help but question the legitimacy of Pocock’s injury as the mind games between he and compatriot Cheika seem set to resume.
“We’re not even thinking about it. I hear this every time we play Australia – Pocock’s not going to be fit – so when I heard it I thought: ‘Here we go again,’” the England coach said. “You know those merry-go-rounds? It’s a bit like that.”
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