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Six Nations 2022: Maro Itoje a doubt for England's clash with Ireland due to illness

Maro Itoje will miss Friday's captain's run and training session, although England are "cautiously optimistic" he will be able to feature against Ireland; forwards coach Richard Cockerill is isolating after testing positive for Covid-19

Maro Itoje
Image: Maro Itoje is a doubt for England's match against Ireland

Maro Itoje is a doubt for England's crunch Six Nations clash with Ireland at Twickenham on Saturday after becoming unwell overnight.

The lock was named to start in the second row when Eddie Jones announced his team on Thursday for the match against their title rivals.

However, the 27-year-old will now miss Friday's captain's run and training session due to feeling unwell, although England remain "cautiously optimistic" he will have recovered in time to feature.

At this stage England have opted against calling up any cover in the event Itoje is ruled out, but Joe Launchbury would most likely step up from the bench to fill the void.

Launchbury is looking to make his first international appearance since December 2020 after a serious knee injury.

Another option would be to recall Nick Isiekwe from Saracens and slot him straight into the starting XV given he will be more battle-hardened than Launchbury due to his regular involvement in this Six Nations.

Leicester Tigers rookie Ollie Chessum is present as a reserve, but picking him on the bench against Ireland might be a gamble Jones is unwilling to take.

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England head coach Eddie Jones says Ireland are favourites for their Six Nations encounter at Twickenham and has described the match as a semi-final

One man who will be absent for the hosts though is forwards coach Richard Cockerill, who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Cockerill returned a positive lateral flow test on Friday morning and a subsequent positive PCR result confirmed the result later in the day.

All of the other England players and staff members have undergone daily lateral flow testing this morning before training, all of which returned negative results.

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