England are ready to pitch Courtney Lawes straight into their crunch Guinness Six Nations clash with Wales if he impresses during training next week. Lawes’ last international appearance was as captain during the July tour to Australia but concussion, glute and calf problems have limited him to only 170 minutes of rugby for his club Northampton this season.
But the 33-year-old, who can play lock or flanker, will take part in his first full-blooded practise session on Thursday as he closes in on his comeback. Having amassed 96 caps for England and five for the Lions, scrum coach Richard Cockerill insists there would be no qualms over naming Lawes in the starting XV or on the bench despite his lack of game time.
“Courtney has done parts of training this week. He will take a full part tomorrow [Thursday] and next week he should be taking a full part in training. Hopefully, he will be available for selection,” Cockerill said.
“Depending on how he trains, there is probably no concern over picking him. He is an experienced player and he has had long injuries previously and come back in and played well, for both club and country. So that doesn’t really concern us when it comes to a guy of his stature.”
Continuing the theme of positive injury news for England is Tom Curry’s imminent return for Sale against Northampton on Saturday after recovering from the hamstring injury sustained in early January, and the receding fears over Kyle Sinckler’s facial wound. Sinckler was omitted from Steve Borthwick’s 26-man training squad for this week but Cockerill insists the Bristol prop will be ready for the trip to Cardiff.