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England set for Shields blow

England set for Shields blow

England are set to be without flanker Brad Shields for their Six Nations opener against Ireland because of a side strain.

The 27-year-old looked set to be a big part of England head coach Eddie Jones’ plans for the February 2 showdown against reigning champions and 2018 Grand Slam winners Ireland in Dublin, given that he featured in the autumn internationals against South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

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However, Shields was withdrawn from the Wasps side for their Champions Cup match against Leinster because of the injury and there has been no timescale given for his potential return to action.

It means he is unlikely to be ready for the game against the Irish in under a fortnight’s time.

Jones will hope that fly-half Owen Farrell will be available for the game after undergoing minor surgery to repair ligament damage to his thumb.

The 27-year-old Saracens man is due back within 10 days so could feature, but he will not be able to participate in training with the rest of the Red Rose squad at a training camp in Portugal from Wednesday.

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