Courtney Lawes was missing from Tuesday’s England pitch session in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, but assurances were given that the skipper’s availability wasn’t a concern for next Sunday’s Rugby World Cup pool match versus Japan in Nice.
The 34-year-old forward produced a performance for the ages last Saturday in Marseille, leading his 14-man side to a comfortable – and unexpected – 27-10 victory over Argentina in their first outing at France 2023.
England came into the tournament on the back of five defeats in their last six matches.
However, despite the loss of Tom Curry to a third-minute red card, they fought off the Pumas with an inspired performance in which out-half George Ford kicked all 27 points – including a 10-minute first-half drop goal hat-trick.
Lawes was said to be resting – and he wasn’t the only member of the 33-strong England squad who was absent from the field session as Curry, who will have his virtual independent disciplinary hearing heard on Tuesday evening, was also elsewhere.
“You know the rule: They weren’t your friends last week, they’re not your friends this week. F**k’s sake…”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 12, 2023
To balance training numbers this week ahead of the clash with the Japanese, head coach Steve Borthwick has called in the 25-year-old Newcastle wing/centre Ben Stevenson and the 19-year-old Bath No8 Arthur Green to help out.
Green’s father Will is the former England prop, who won four caps during his lengthy Wasps career.