Itoje a doubt but England optimistic he’ll play


England are optimistic that Maro Itoje will be fit to face Ireland in tomorrow’s Six Nations clash at Twickenham.
Itoje became unwell overnight and missed Friday’s captain’s run. Charlie Ewels, Joe Launchbury and Ollie Chessum were all able to participate. Nick Isiekwe is on standby to replace Itoje, if he can’t start.
England forwards coach Richard Cockerill will miss the game after testing positive for Covid-19. All the players and other staff tested negative on Friday.
It’s a must-win game for both sides to keep alive their chances of winning the Championship. England defeated Wales last time out while Ireland comprehensively beat
12-man Italy in their last game but have won just once in London since 2010 in this championship.
England have been boosted with the return of flanker Tom Curry. He passed the return-to-play protocols after sustaining a head injury against Wales.
Speaking ahead of the game England Head Coach Eddie Jones said: “We’ve been looking at this game as a semi-final. Ireland are the most cohesive side in the world right now and it will be a good test this weekend.
“We’ve prepared really well for this game. We did some good team togetherness work in Bristol and had a solid week of training on the pitch here.
“We are looking forward to going after them in front of a great home crowd at Twickenham. It’s been special having 82,000 supporters back in for our Six Nations games and it will be a great Test match for them.”
While Ireland head coach Andy Farrell said: “We have to make sure England have a bump in the road.
“(The media) say they are building into the competition so we have to stop that. We have to go over there and prove to ourselves there is a performance in there that is a step above what we’ve shown already.”