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Nathan Hughes set to return for England against Scotland

Fellow number eight Sam Simmonds has been ruled out by a shoulder problem.

England have been given a clean bill of health for Saturday’s NatWest 6 Nations clash against Scotland with Nathan Hughes on course to start at number eight.

Any lingering doubt over Owen Farrell and Joe Launchbury has lifted, the former overcoming an unspecified lower leg injury and the latter available after missing last Friday’s open training session at Twickenham for load management reasons.

Hughes has been proving his fitness during gruelling sessions at England’s Surrey training base after recovering from the knee ligament damaged sustained on Wasps duty in mid-December.

The number eight has made one club appearance since returning several weeks ahead of schedule but starts at Murrayfield after Sam Simmonds was ruled out by a shoulder problem.

“Everyone’s fully fit for selection this weekend,” forwards coach Steve Borthwick said.

“Nathan’s worked really hard, really diligently and he looks in really good shape. He’s healed very fast which is great.

“While our strength and conditioning and medical team have worked incredibly hard, the credit has to go to Nathan for the work he’s done while he’s been injured.

“We want to make sure all of our players are ready for Test matches, that’s why we train at the intensity level we train at.

“Nathan gives us different strengths to Sam. He’s an outstanding ball carrier. His effect on the group has grown.

“He’s excellent with younger players, helping them mentally. He’s grown as a player in terms of the influence he has throughout as a leader as well.”

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