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Morgan eyeing France return

Ben Morgan is on course to recover from his broken leg in time to face France in the first of England's three World Cup warm-up matches.

Morgan has been out since January with an injury that threatened his involvement at England 2015, but his progress has been encouraging and he could feature against Les Blues at Twickenham on August 15.

The giant 26-year-old was the Red Rose's star performer last autumn, wrestling the number eight jersey from Billy Vunipola, and will return to rugby-specific training during next month's high altitude camp in Denver.

"Hopefully (he will be available against France). All the signs now are that he's going to be right," forwards coach Graham Rowntree said.

"Ben is in the shape of his life. He's had a pretty good pre-season - it started in January!

"He's working exceptionally hard daily with the medical team and his leg's coming on nicely.

"I've not seen him in as good condition as he is in the moment and he'll be available for some element of rugby when we go to Denver.

"He's been working with us for just under four years and has put in some big performances for us.

"We've got some real competition in that area now and to have him available is a luxury for us. We'll give him all the helps he needs, mentally and physically."

Morgan has been watching from the sidelines as England's 50-man training squad have been beasted in sweltering heat at their Pennyhill Park training camp as the countdown to the World Cup opener against Fiji on September 18 continues.

Rowntree has revealed that England are seeking to hone their conditioning to the point that they could perform in games when the ball is in play for 40 minutes, an increase on the current figure for an international against New Zealand of late 30s.

"You've got to be challenging teams with ball in hand and making them work across the field in every department, run teams around. You have got to have that tool in your armoury," Rowntree said.

"We have exciting young men and playing that way suits our players. The ball is on the field more than against anyone else when we play New Zealand.

"And that is challenging. We want to get to about 40minutes. Ball in play, challenging teams, playing exciting rugby.

"We want to play the brand of rugby we did in the Six Nations, but you need a few brands of rugby available to you."

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