Nathan Hughes set to step in for Sam Simmonds against Scotland
Wasps star fit again and could return to England squad for showdown in Murrayfield
England’s number 8 Nathan Hughes is tackled by France’s Guilhem Guirado during their Six Nations match at Twickenham earlier this month. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images
England have lost one No 8 but gained another before the Calcutta Cup showdown against Scotland in Edinburgh next week. Exeter’s Sam Simmonds, one of his country’s most effective players this month, is set to miss Murrayfield after sustaining a shoulder injury against Wales on Saturday, but Wasps’ Nathan Hughes is fit again and could make an instant return.
No detailed prognosis is yet available as to how long Simmonds will be out, while the Bath wing Anthony Watson will be assessed this week after limping off early in the second half of his country’s 12-6 win at Twickenham.
Eddie Jones’s options, however, have been extended by the return of two 2017 Lions, James Haskell and Joe Marler, from suspension, with the Bath lock Charlie Ewels also included. Alec Hepburn, George Kruis and Nathan Earle, though, will not be involved.
The 32-member squad are due to train against the Georgian national team in west London this week and will also have an open training session at Twickenham on Friday. For now Jones has resisted the temptation to rush back two further Lions, Elliot Daly and Kyle Sinckler, but he has chosen two new teenage apprentices in the Harlequins wing Gabriel Ibitoye and the Sale backrower Sam Moore.
The pair played for England U-20s in Newcastle on Friday night, with Ibitoye scoring a spectacular second-half try in a 37-12 win against Wales U-20s. The selection of Moore, however, will be greeted with little enthusiasm on the other side of the Severn Bridge: Moore’s father Steve and uncle Andy both represented Wales and the 19-year-old was born in Cardiff. – Guardian