Chris Robshaw and Jonathan Joseph were not included in England’s Six Nations squad to face Italy at Twickenham at the weekend.
England head coach Eddie Jones retained 27 players, calling up Bath’s Charlie Ewels as injury cover for Maro Itoje who caused a scare on Tuesday when he hobbled out of training.
The Saracens lock was expected to make his comeback from the ligament damage sustained to his right knee on February 2, but the setback has placed that in doubt.
England lost Courtney Lawes to a calf strain picked up against Wales and were banking on Itoje being available for the Italians, hence the inclusion of only three locks in their original 31-man training squad.
Gloucester’s Ollie Thorley has been retained as injury cover for Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs).
Robshaw made Jones’ training squad for the first time this year after returning to fitness following a knee injury suffered in October.
The 32-year-old took part in sessions at the start of the week but discovered on Tuesday afternoon that he would not be included in further preparations.
On Monday, scrum coach Neal Hatley revealed Robshaw had been told he must outperform Mark Wilson to reclaim his place as England’s first-choice blindside flanker.
Newcastle’s Wilson made the cut for the 27-strong squad looking to bounce back from their defeat in Wales in February.
(c) Sky News 2019: England release Chris Robshaw and Jonathan Joseph from squad to face Italy