England expect to have a clean bill of health for their vital World Cup opener against Argentina on Saturday after downplaying concerns over Courtney Lawes’ fitness.
Lawes took part in the first training session held since the squad arrived at their tournament base in Le Touquet on Thursday, but the Lions flanker missed Saturday’s capping ceremony because of “soreness”.
Attack coach Richard Wigglesworth revealed that England’s likely captain against the Pumas in the absence of the suspended Owen Farrell sat out the function merely as a precautionary measure.
Wigglesworth also issued positive updates on Tom Curry, Kyle Sinckler, Elliot Daly and George Martin, all of whom are carrying knocks ahead of the Marseille opener on September 9.
“Courtney is a bit sore from training on Friday so we decided the best thing for him was to not sit in a chair for an hour or so then have to stand up,” Wigglesworth said.
“He is resting at the hotel. He is bit sore from training – the pitch was heavy because of the rain. Nothing too serious, we are just looking after him.
“We have a few little bumps and bruises like everyone has, but I think we will go into next weekend with a pretty full bill of health.”
Curry was unable to play a single minute of the four warm-up Tests because of an ankle injury and with Steve Borthwick naming his side to face Argentina on Thursday, time is running out for the influential openside to prove he is ready.
“Tom should be good to go. We are hopeful everyone is going to be ready, we don’t know yet but we think we should be good going into the game,” Wigglesworth said.
Steve Borthwick’s squad received their World Cup caps on stage at Le Touquet’s convention centre and as part of the ceremony were addressed by former England full-back Jonathan Webb.
Webb, who played in the 1987 and 1991 editions of the tournament, urged the current red rose generation to trust in each other and to “play without fear” over the weeks ahead.
It comes as England contend with a dismal record of five defeats in six Tests, including a first ever loss to Fiji in the last warm-up Test before heading across the Channel.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) September 1, 2023
“We know we need to improve but I’m not going to pluck a percentage out of the air,” Wigglesworth said.
“There are a few things we have got to get right and to improve. The lads have started getting into that over the last few days. We’re confident that we’ll improve and give a good account of ourselves.
“We know where we want to go as a team, we know how hard we’re working. The lads have been first class.
“We need to get it right in Marseille against a very, very good Argentina team, who are ranked really highly and are led exceptionally well by Julian Montoya, who I know well.
“But there’s no doubt that we have a high level of ability and determination in our group to go out there and play really well.”