Eddie Jones' preparations for the Six Nations has hit another snag this weekend with two front line players suffering injuries on Sunday.
Brad Shields was withdrawn from the Wasps’ side to face Leinster ahead of just over an hour before kick-off at the Ricoh Arena, while Joe Launchbury was injured while attempted to tackle Devin Toner just 10 minutes into the game.
Toner appeared to land on Launchbury's neck. Launchbury was taken off the field to undergo a HIA, which he passed. Worryingly, he did not return to the field.
Shields, 27, started England's autumn internationals against South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, has a side strain according to Wasps. They did not offer a time-frame for his return from the injury.
Both are unwelcome concerns for Jones, who was hit with news that captain Owen Farell needs surgery on an injured thumb.
Dai Young did ease concerns after the game but the pair will be monitored closely.
Dai Young says Joe Launchbury passed his HIA but his neck stiffened up and he didn't return. Young doesn't see it as an issue moving forward.— Murray Kinsella (@Murray_Kinsella) January 20, 2019
Brad Shields has a knock on his hip and wasn't risked. Again, not a big concern moving forward.
Relief for England.
Jones said he is “cautiously optimistic” Farrell will be fit for the Six Nations opener against Ireland.
Meanwhile Chris Robshaw and Sam Underhill are out of contention for the meeting with Ireland. Bath centre Jonathan Joseph completed 50 minutes of action against Toulouse and could comeback into contention after the opening two games of the Six Nations after he missed out on initial squad through injury.
England Players unavailable due to injury (When the team was announced) :
Piers Francis (Northampton Saints)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)