England quintet have fitness issues

The England camp has been struck by injuries and sickness in the build-up to their Pool C showdown with France at the Rugby World Cup, with Owen Farrell, Billy Vunipola and Jack Nowell among those affected.

England captain Farrell was a noticeable absentee from the start of their training session yesterday, with the 27-year-old laid low by a stomach bug that has also struck hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie, England’s top try-scorer at the tournament.

The pair were consigned to limited training just five days out from their clash with France, with the winner of Saturday’s meeting at the International Stadium Yokohama set to top the pool and likely avoid an awkward quarter-final against Wales.

Vunipola, Nowell and Joe Marler are all suffering from injuries. The most concerning of the trio is Vunipola, who was seen walking around the team hotel in a protective boot despite the England camp claiming on Monday that he was not in one.

Scott Wisemantel, England’s attack coach, confirmed he is not the only one struggling.

“Billy was doing his rehab this morning,” said Wisemantel. “We have Joe [Marler], who has a bit of a bump, and Owen was just a bit crook in the stomach.

“Luke trained a wee bit, just a little bit of throwing.”

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