Joe Cokanasiga and Brad Shields named in England squad ahead of France Six Nations clash


England have named Joe Cokanasiga and flanker Brad Shields in their 25-man squad to continue preparations for Sunday’s Six Nations game against France.

Bath wing Cokanasiga missed England’s opening win over Ireland with a knee injury but could now be set for a Six Nations debut, having displaced Mike Brown in the final cut before Eddie Jones names his starting XV on Friday.

England will make at least three changes to their matchday 23, after Ellis Genge and Harry Williams were left out and Maro Itoje was ruled out with a knee injury.

The replacement props completed cameo appearances in the final quarter of Saturday’s 32-20 victory but have been excluded from the squad retained to step up preparations for the round two fixture.

Genge’s place at loosehead has been taken by Ben Moon, who excelled during the autumn internationals, while Williams has lost out to veteran tighthead Dan Cole of Leicester.

Moon and Cole are known for their expertise at the scrum, which will be fully tested by France’s heavyweight tight five, and may explain why they have been recalled by head coach Eddie Jones.

If he makes an appearance, Cole will be winning his first cap since being dropped after last year’s Six Nations.

Itoje’s knee injury means England must make one enforced change in the second row and a new option in the back five mix is Shields, who has recovered from a side strain to take Itoje’s spot in the 25.

England have yet to set a date for Dylan Hartley’s return from his knee injury but the Northampton hooker has reported to the squad’s Surrey base to continue his rehabilitation.

England’s 25-man squad:

Forwards: Dan Cole (Leicester), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), Tom Curry (Sale), Jamie George (Saracens), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Ben Moon (Exeter), Brad Shields (Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Mark Wilson (Newcastle)

Backs: Chris Ashton (Sale), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens, captain), George Ford (Leicester), Jonny May (Leicester), Jack Nowell (Exeter), Dan Robson (Wasps), Henry Slade (Exeter), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester), Ben Youngs (Leicester)

(c) Sky News 2019: Joe Cokanasiga and Brad Shields named in England squad ahead of France Six Nations clash

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