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Back-row forwards James Haskell and Jack Clifford give fitness boost to England

James Haskell and Jack Clifford are to join up with England's squad at their Portugal training camp as they bid to prove their fitness for the RBS 6 Nations opener against France.

Haskell and Clifford are suffering from respective toe and chest issues, but could be ready in time for the visit of Guy Noves' men to Twickenham on February 4.

Haskell saw a specialist after reporting soreness in his foot after Wasps' victory over Zebre and following a positive assessment he has been cleared him to fly to Portugal on Wednesday afternoon.

If he is given the all clear from the injury and is able to prove his conditioning after seven months out because of surgery, the 31-year-old is likely to start at openside.

Clifford was hurt on club duty for Harlequins against Stade Francais at the weekend but now appears to be back in contention for a place in the matchday 23 for the start of England's Grand Slam defence.

"This is good news. It's a real boost for the squad because they're well liked members who will add to what we have," head coach Eddie Jones said.

"On Thursday we'll appraise both of them and see where they're at and see how much training they can do and see if they're available for that first game against France.

"I'll have to look at them when they come in and talk to the medical staff. We'll make a decision then."


From Belfast Telegraph