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Young plays down injury fears for England trio Launchbury, Shields and Hughes

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young does not expect injuries to Joe Launchbury, Nathan Hughes and Brad Shields to affect England’s Six Nations campaign.

There were concerns for the trio on Sunday amid Wasps’ 39-17 defeat to Leinster in the Champions Cup as back-row forward Shields was withdrawn from the XV around an hour prior to kick-off, while lock Launchbury played just 10 minutes before he was forced to leave for a head injury assessment (HIA) and did not return.

Number eight Hughes scored one of Wasps’ three tries in the defeat but also sustained a knock to his ankle in scenes that would have worried England head coach Eddie Jones ahead of the opening fixture against defending champions Ireland on February 2.

But Young assured that none of the problems were anticipated to be serious.

“He [Launchbury] got his head in the wrong position in a tackle and his head hit a hip. He passed his HIA but his neck really stiffened up. That’s why he didn’t come back on,” Young told a news conference.

“He’s okay. We don’t see it being an issue moving forward, probably 24 to 48 hours. He passed his HIA which is good because you never know when they’ll be right so that’s not a problem.

“Just a bit of a sore neck. It was quite a hefty knock and his neck went into spasm. He’s had one or two neck issues in the past. We didn’t see it as anything serious and at the end of the day we aren’t going to chuck him back out there if he is sore.

“He’s in the changing room talking, he’s not hugely restricted. I’d be very surprised if in the next 48 hours if he is still struggling, but you never know.

“Brad after the team run was doing a little bit of pad work, took a knock to his hip, his obliques on the side. His muscles went into spasm. He got a strain there and it was a bit sore this morning, we weren’t going to risk him.

“It’s going to be sore for 24 to 48 hours but we don’t see it as a concern for England moving forward. Nathan Hughes had cramp in both of his calves so we took him off. He went over on his ankle early doors and we started to fear the worst. He’s not injured, maybe a bit sore.”

Young also revealed that the late removal of Dan Robson, who also crossed the whitewash at the Ricoh Arena, was purely to ensure the scrum-half did not get injured as he seeks a maiden international cap.

“Dan Robson, who I thought had a very good game, we took him off with 12 minutes to go. We didn’t want him to get a bump, he’s worked hard to get England selection,” Young added.

“Obviously he wanted game time which is important ahead of hopefully playing some important games for England. I wouldn’t have lived with myself if he got a bump in the last couple of minutes.”

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