England’s ambitions of downing the French at Twickenham on Sunday have suffered a major setback due to injuries.
Phil Vickery, Andy Farrell and Jonny Wilkinson all doubtful to start. Vickery may be concussed after the punch he took in Wasps’s victory over Bristol on Sunday. Further tests need to be done, but he is expected to be out for three weeks. Farrell has been ruled out with a recurrent back spasm, while Wilkinson’s cramp in Newcastle’s loss to London Irish suggests his hamstring niggle may be getting worse.
Jason Robinson has not made sufficient progress to play this weekend and Steve Borthwick is still waiting for scan results to confirm the extent of his rib injury. Magnus Lund (concussion) and David Strettle (leg) also need to be assessed before the team is announced on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Sylvain Marconnet will miss the rest of the Six Nations due to a broken leg.
The French prop injured himself while skiing in the French Alps and has been ruled out for three to four months. This ends his Six Nations campaign and will only see him returning to Stade Francais in the Top 14 playoffs in May.
His place in the front row will be taken by Pieter de Villiers.