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Rugby World Cup: England are left to sweat it out over Jonathan Joseph and Ben Morgan's fitness

By Duncan Bech

Published 23/09/2015

Jonathan Joseph
Jonathan Joseph

England have encountered the first major injury problems of their World Cup campaign after it was revealed that Jonathan Joseph and Ben Morgan are doubts for Saturday's pivotal clash with Wales.

Joseph took a bang to his chest in the 35-11 victory over Fiji while Morgan is struggling with a knee problem. Both players must prove their fitness today before the team is announced tomorrow morning.

"Jonathan has a bit of a knock, nothing too serious and our medical staff are working to get him fit for selection," backs coach Andy Farrell said.

"We will give him every chance to put an England shirt on this weekend.

"It's something and nothing. He has got a knock on his chest. If he is fit for this weekend, we will know by tomorrow. If he is not fit it will not be more than a week anyway.

"Ben has a little bang on his knee that isn't serious at all. There are still a couple more knocks, people who are not serious. We'll leave them unnamed.

"Some guys will train today, some guys won't train today. We'll see what happens. We don't need to rush.

"We need to take our time and give everyone the best possible chance of being fit. People have got bangs and long-term injuries who need a couple more days."

Joseph is England's main threat in midfield and his loss would be a blow to the hosts' chances of placing one foot in the quarter-finals by toppling Wales.

Brad Barritt could move from 12 to 13 to fill the void, while Henry Slade and Sam Burgess are also possibilities. Owen Farrell is an option at inside centre and in training on Monday a trio of Farrell, Barritt and Burgess was fielded.

If Morgan is ruled out, head coach Stuart Lancaster would face a simpler choice with Billy Vunipola starting at No.8.

"We are confident when we picked the 31-man squad that everyone could do a job and we have to make sure everyone is comfortable starting," Farrell added. "Everyone was talking about whether Sam was or wasn't going to be ready, but we know what we see in training and we back everyone."

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