England injury problems deepen ahead of Six Nations clash with Wales

Brad Barritt, Kyle Eastmond, Geoff Parling and Tom Wood are all set to miss out

England's preparations for their Six Nations opener against Wales have been thrown into disarray after a further four players were all but ruled out of the Millennium Stadium showdown.

Centres Brad Barritt and Kyle Eastmond, lock Geoff Parling and flanker Tom Wood are set to miss the trip to Cardiff on Friday week, head coach Stuart Lancaster indicated.

Barritt and Parling could recover from their knee ligament strains in time to face Italy on February 14th, but their hopes of featuring against Wales have been described as “very unlikely” by Lancaster.

The outlook on Wood and Eastmond is bleaker still, with their respective ankle and shoulder injuries requiring further specialist assessment and they are likely to be out until later in the tournament.


A lone positive note from a brutal final round of European club action was sounded by Luther Burrell’s ongoing recovery from concussion, with the centre on course to resume full training tomorrow.

News of the quartet’s unavailability for Cardiff – the setting for England’s humiliating 30-3 rout two years ago – was delivered less than 24 hours after outhalf Owen Farrell had been ruled out of the entire Six Nations with a knee problem.

Farrell joined number eight Ben Morgan and lock Joe Launchbury on the list of long-term absentees, while major doubts hang over centre Manu Tuilagi and secondrow Courtney Lawes.

Connacht contracts


Jack Carty


John Cooney

and Caolin Blade have become the latest players to sign new contract extensions with Connacht.

The Connacht-born duo of Carty and Blade have put pen to paper on new two-year deals that will see them play at the Sportsground until at least the summer of 2017, while Cooney, who played at Connacht this season on loan from Leinster, has been signed a permanent one-year contract for next season.