England attack coach Scott Wisemantel is hopeful Exeter Chiefs duo Jack Nowell and Henry Slade will both return to competitive action early next month.
Both Nowell and Slade have had to sit out England’s opening two Rugby World Cup warm-up encounters against Wales – and they will again be missing when Eddie Jones’ side tackle Ireland at Twickenham this Saturday (3pm).
Nowell has been sidelined since the Gallagher Premiership Final in early June when he was forced from the field with ankle and knee injuries. Slade, meanwhile, has trained with England in this country and in Portugal, but was forced to withdraw ahead of the first clash with Wales due to a knee injury.
Speaking to the media, Wisemantel also gave a positive update on other members of the England squad who have been sidelined in recent weeks.
“We’re looking at Italy for Slade and the same the Nowell,” said Wisemantel. “Mark Wilson could potentially be ready this weekend, Mako Vunipola, Tom Curry and San Underhill are likely to be available for selection.”
Wisemantel expects Ireland to pitch up at Twickenham at something approaching full strength following their comfortable win over Italy in Dublin earlier this month.
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“Obviously the hit-out against Italy was a mixed team, so I’d expect Joe Schmidt [Ireland coach] to go a lot stronger,” he said. “These warm-ups can be like games of poker. But they are still Test matches. You want to win them, and you’re disappointed when you don’t.
“You want to win but at the same time you want to hold some things back.
“So it is like a game of chess at the moment, but you certainly want to get out there and try some things that you think might work, experiment a little bit. So that’s where we’re at at this stage.”