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England retain a third hooker in their squad to face France in Paris

Published 15/03/2016

Tommy Taylor has remained with England
Tommy Taylor has remained with England

England have retained a third hooker at their Surrey training camp in preparation for Saturday's Grand Slam showdown with France in Paris.

Sale's Tommy Taylor has been included alongside captain Dylan Hartley and Luke Cowan-Dickie in a 26-man squad ahead of the team announcement due on Thursday afternoon.

Hartley sat out Tuesday afternoon's training session, leading to fears he could be an injury doubt for the visit to the Stade de France.

The only previous occasion when England kept three hookers after trimming their squad was in the build-up to the Wales clash when Jamie George's biceps injury made him a doubt. George was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament the following day.

However, an England spokesman stated that Hartley trained in the morning and his absence from the afternoon's session was merely to limit his work-load.

"Intensity wise it has to be high as that's how we want to play. Volume wise we'll go down 10-15 per cent," head coach Eddie Jones said on Monday when asked if training would be modified for the final week of the Six Nations.

Added to the matchday 23 who toppled Wales 25-21 on Saturday are prop Matt Mullan and full-back Alex Goode.

Mullan has been kept as Joe Marler faces a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday for striking Wales' Rob Evans and could also be banned for calling Evans' team-mate Samson Lee "gypsy boy".

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