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Six Nations 2024: England's Ollie Lawrence and Luke Cowan-Dickie withdraw from training camp

Six Nations 2024: England's Ollie Lawrence and Luke Cowan-Dickie withdraw from training camp

  • Written by Chris Jones
  • BBC rugby union correspondent

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Ollie Lawrence came on as a substitute in England's World Cup semi-final loss to South Africa in October

England are set to be without center Ollie Lawrence and hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie for their Six Nations opener against Italy.

Both suffered injuries in the Investec Champions Cup last weekend and withdrew from the training camp in Girona.

England recalled Newcastle's Jamie Blammer, Bath duo Max Ojomoh and winger Will Muir.

Ojomoh, 23, is the son of former Bath, Gloucester and England back-rower Steve.

Harlequin center Oscar Bird is going through return-to-play protocols after sustaining concussion, but has traveled to northern Spain.

England have not determined the nature or severity of the injuries to either Cowan-Dickie or Lawrence, but it is understood there are doubts whether both will feature in the fixture in Rome on February 3.

Lawrence's absence in particular will come as a huge blow to coach Steve Borthwick, with the Bath player earmarked to start in midfield against the Azzurri.

It leaves England light on options at inside centre. Henry Slade is better suited to wear the number 13, as is Tommy Freeman, while Borthwick no longer has the option of deploying Owen Farrell at number 12, as has often been the case over the past decade.

Fraser Dingwall, Northampton's in-form uncapped midfielder, is now a strong contender to make his England debut at the Olympic Stadium, if Lawrence is not fit.

Saints have been in impressive form this season both domestically and in the Champions Cup, with fly-half Alex Mitchell, fly-half Finn Smith and full-back George Furbank also in the England squad alongside Dingwall and Freeman.

All five started at the back as 14-man Northampton recorded an impressive win over Munster on Saturday to top their group, and Borthwick says he will look to capitalize on Saints' momentum as he prepares his England side over the next 10 days.

“You're looking at Finn and Mitch by the way [Alex Mitchell] “Tommy Freeman and Fraser Dingwall, the way they beat Northampton,” Borthwick said.

“I think they changed the way they played a little bit, which I think is a great change.

“Away at Thomond Park in those circumstances, the way they kept going in that battle, the way they were tireless in doing the right thing at the right time and the way they took the scoring opportunities, I think that shows a team with the right mentality.” “And the mentality we want to make sure is there with the England team.”

England Six Nations team

Attackers: Ollie Chisum, Dan Cole, Alex Coles, Jamie Bellmare, Chandler Cunningham South, Ben Curry, Theo Dunne, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jimmy George (captain), Joe Hayes, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Joe Marler, Benno Obano, Tom Pearson, Ethan Roots, Will Stewart, Sam Underhill.

Their backs: Max Ojomoh, Danny Kerr, Elliot Daly, Fraser Dingwall, Emmanuel Faye-Wabusu, George Ford, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Will Muir, Alex Mitchell, Tom Roebuck, Henry Slade, Finn Smith, Marcus Smith, Ben Spencer, Freddie Steward .

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