England World Cup injury woes continue with Watson out


England's troubled build-up to the World Cup has continued with the news that Anthony Watson will miss the entire tournament because of a calf problem.

In the week Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola were issued with bans that rule them out of the critical opener against Argentina, coach Steve Borthwick has now lost a first choice wing.

Watson sustained the damage in Saturday's 29-10 rout by Ireland and has been replaced in the 33-man World Cup squad by Jonny May, who starts Saturday's clash with Fiji.

It is a savage blow for the Lions three-quarter who had previously battled back from long-term knee and Achilles injuries and was poised to start the Pumas showdown on September 9.

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

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

Watson follows ankle injury-victim Jack van Poortvliet in being forced to withdraw from the original squad named by Borthwick.

A grim picture is developing in the back three with Borthwick also revealing that Elliot Daly and Henry Arundell have been ruled out of the World Cup send-off against Fiji at Twickenham.

Daly suffered a knee issue against Ireland but England are confident he will recover in time to face Argentina while Arundell has been struck down by a "freak back spasm".

Borthwick was at least able to deliver a positive update on Tom Curry after confirming that he will return to full training imminently having missed all four warm-up Tests because of an ankle injury.

Ben Earl will play at the back of the scrum and George Ford will continue at five-eighth as England size up their options without the suspended Farrell and Vunipola against Fiji.

Courtney Lawes will win his 100th cap in the clash with the Pacific islanders, who last week provided World Cup hosts France with a tough examination in Nantes.

"Fiji have proven themselves to be a strong opposition and we look forward to what we expect to be an exciting and challenging game," said Borthwick.

There are nine changes to the side that started against Ireland, with Theo Dan getting his first England start at hooker.

England team:

Freddie Steward, Max Malins, Ollie Lawrence, Manu Tuilagi, Jonny May, George Ford, Alex Mitchell, Ellis Genge, Theo Dan, Dan Cole, Maro Itoje, Ollie Chessum, Courtney Lawes (c), Jack Willis, Ben Earl.

Replacements: Jack Walker, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, David Ribbans, Lewis Ludlam, Danny Care, Marcus Smith, Joe Marchant.