England get injury respite

Fears that Mark Cueto, Josh Lewsey and Perry Freshwater would miss England’s year-end Tests were allayed when they were cleared to play.

Cueto (ankle) and Lewsey (hamstring), certainties for Andy Robinson’s run-on side for matches against New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa, were both injured in the weekend’s European Cup fixtures, as was Freshwater, who suffered heavy bruising to his leg in Perpignan’s clash with Treviso. New Zealand born Freshwater is largely expected to make his debut against the All Blacks on 5th November.

Cueto was optimistic about a return to European Cup action for Sale, when they take on Calvisano on Friday.

“The ankle eased over the weekend and I am happy with the scan results,” Cueto told the BBC. “There is fluid around the joint, which is to be expected but the Sale Sharks physio team are looking after me and I am aiming to be fit for the weekend.”

The news will be most welcomed by Robinson who has already lost key players like Stuart Abbott, Jonny Wilkinson, Olly Barkely, James Simpson-Daniel, Steve Thompson and Steve Borthwick, for the incoming tours.

Robinson lamented the loss of Barkely to a groin injury.

“He is a key member of the squad and we wish him a quick recovery,” he said. “It’s unfortunate for Olly, especially after he missed last season’s Six Nations with a dislocated thumb.”

Barkley and Abbott’s injuries could open the door for Newcastle duo, Jamie Noon and Matthew Tait in England’s midfield.

England announce their 30-man squad on Wednesday.