Henry Arundell is pushing hard to make his England comeback in Sunday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Italy after playing a full role in Tuesday’s training session.
Arundell could be part of a reshaped back three that might also see Anthony Watson make his first start since the 2021 championship, having recovered from a significant knee injury.
London Irish sensation Arundell announced his arrival to the international game by scoring a stunning try on his debut during the July tour to Australia but he was then ruled out of the autumn because of an ankle injury.
A successful return as a replacement for Irish against Harlequins on Sunday has propelled him back into contention for England with the indications from training at their Surrey camp pointing to his involvement when a resurgent Italy visit Twickenham.
Head coach Steve Borthwick will want to call upon the explosive 20-year-old’s X-factor as soon as possible, although all three of his caps have come as a replacement and he is still learning the nuances of defence.
For the Calcutta Cup defeat by Scotland that opened England’s Six Nations campaign, Max Malins and Ollie Hassell-Collins were the wings with Freddie Steward at full-back, but Borthwick may use the Italy match to test out a different permutation.
Henry Slade has returned to full training following his struggle with a hip problem and he could force a rethink in midfield, most likely displacing Joe Marchant at outside centre.
As well as the big talking point of whether to persist with the playmaking axis of Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell , the back row is also under close scrutiny.
Flanker Jack Willis is thought to be on track to be involved after his build-up to the Scotland clash was disrupted by his club commitments with French club Toulouse, contributing to his non-selection.
Borthwick names his side on Friday afternoon with England desperate to topple Italy and secure their first win under their new boss.
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