Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Jonathan Joseph raises hopes of England return by taking part in training

England centre Jonathan Joseph continued to offer hope that he might be ready for the critical World Cup showdown with Australia after playing a role in training on Tuesday.

Joseph was ruled of the 28-25 defeat by Wales because of a pectoral muscle injury and faces a race against time to prove his fitness for Saturday's visit of the Wallabies, who must be beaten if the hosts are to stay in the tournament.

If fit, Joseph is an automatic selection at outside centre and the make-up of England's midfield hinges on his availability.

"Jonathan walked through this morning with us and is due to train this afternoon. We'll see if he plays a full part," attacking skills Mike Catt said.

Number eight Ben Morgan has recovered from his knee problem and is available to face Australia, but lock Courtney Lawes and scrum-half Ben Youngs are unlikely to recover in time from their respective knee and ankle issues. England name their team on Thursday morning.

"We'll see who is fit and healthy on Thursday and make a final decision," Catt said.

"Whoever we decide to select or whoever is fit, we have total belief we can go and score tries against teams. Australia love an open game, but we are also capable of scoring tries."

Joseph did not appear for the start of England's open training session on Tuesday afternoon, neither did Youngs nor Lawes. The trio were the only players missing.

Number eight Nick Easter practised with the squad for the first time since being called up as a replacement for Billy Vunipola, who has been ruled out of the remainder of the World Cup by a knee strain.

The Rugby Football Union's chief executive Ian Ritchie watched the session, as did former England flanker and 2003 World Cup winner Richard Hill.


From Belfast Telegraph