Ben Te’o ruled out of England’s Six Nations opener against Ireland

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Ben Te’o will miss England’s opening Six Nations match against Ireland in Dublin on Saturday with a side strain.

The Worcester Warriors centre was in contention to feature in Eddie Jones’ starting side against the reigning champions at the Aviva Stadium, but an injury sustained during training has ruled him out.

Back-row Brad Shields and winger Joe Cokanasiga are also both sidelined for the match with respective side and knee injuries, with Jones retaining 25 players to continue their preparations on their warm-weather camp in Portugal for the fixture.

“We are hoping Ben [Te’o] will be back again for France. It’s a slight side strain. It was picked up in an innocuous game of training,” England scrum coach Neal Hatley told Sky Sports.

“In a game of this importance we need everyone 100 per cent fit.”

Te’o, whose absence paves the way for Manu Tuilagi to make his first Test start for four years, Shields and Cokanasiga will all remain with the England squad to continue their reconditioning until Thursday, when the team travel to Dublin.

Dan Cole, who was one of six Leicester Tigers players named in England’s initial squad, will also be absent against the Grand Slam holders after the prop was not retained for selection.

Full-back Mike Brown is part of the 25-man squad retained, having failed to feature during the four Autumn internationals.

England co-captain Owen Farrell is in line to start for Jones against the second ranked side in the world as he appears to have won his battle for fitness, following his minor procedure on a thumb injury earlier this month.

Clifford out of Ireland vs England

Jones’ England side finished fifth last year and face a daunting task if they are to begin their campaign with a victory, having not won in the Six Nations in Dublin since a 12-6 victory in 2013.

England 25-man squad

Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons).

Backs: Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens, captain), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Dan Robson (Wasps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

(c) Sky News 2019: Ben Te’o ruled out of England’s Six Nations opener against Ireland

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