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Rugby World Cup: England wing Anthony Watson ruled out of tournament with calf injury

Anthony Watson out of Rugby World Cup after sustaining calf injury in last week's defeat to Ireland; Jonny May to replace Watson in England side for Saturday's warm-up match against Fiji; England to be without banned Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola for start of World Cup

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England head coach Steve Borthwick confirms that Anthony Watson will miss the Rugby World Cup because of a calf problem but has backed him to bounce back quickly.

England wing Anthony Watson has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup due to a calf problem.

Watson picked up the injury in last week's warm-up defeat to Ireland and has now been withdrawn from the 33-player squad.

The 29-year-old is the second England player to be forced out of the tournament in recent weeks, with scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet absent due to an ankle issue.

Jonny May (PA Images)
Image: Jonny May will start for England against Fiji on Saturday

Jonny May will start Saturday's warm-up match against Fiji in Watson's absence and is set to be added to the World Cup party, with head coach Steve Borthwick expected to name the Gloucester player as Watson's replacement.

England will be without captain and fly-half Owen Farrell and No 8 Billy Vunipola for the start of the competition after both were handed suspensions for high tackles.

Farrell will sit out the games against Argentina on September 9 and Japan eight days later, while Vunipola will miss the Argentina fixture.

England wing Anthony Watson in action against Ireland
Image: Watson was injured in last week's defeat to Ireland

On Watson's injury, Borthwick said: "In the game against Ireland, Anthony Watson suffered an injury to his calf which means he can't play for a number of weeks,

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"As such he will not be part of the 33 that travels to France next week. We're all really disappointed for him."

Borthwick expects Watson's fellow backs Elliot Daly (knee) and Henry Arundell (back) to be fit for the World Cup after both were ruled out of the Fiji fixture.

Borthwick also revealed that flanker Tom Curry (ankle) will soon resume full training after missing England's entire World Cup warm-up programme.

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