Fly-half George Ford has replaced Marcus Smith in England’s training squad ahead of next week’s Six Nations contest against France.
Smith will go back to Harlequins as a result of his exclusion from the 26-man group and the fact that he won’t be in the matchday squad to face France.
Also, it signals the eagerly anticipated comeback of Sale’s Ford, who hasn’t played for England since March 2022.
On Saturday, March 11, at 16:45 GMT, England takes on France at Twickenham.
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Due to an ankle ailment, Max Malins is questionable for the matchup against the reigning champions; therefore, veteran wing Jonny May has been called in to fill in.
Centre Manu Tuilagi, who has yet to play in this year’s competition, will also train with the team this week.
Smith, 24, started England’s loss to Scotland but was only sometimes substituted for in the wins over Italy and Wales.
Ford only joined Sale Sharks this month after a protracted Achilles injury, but his fast promotion to the starting lineup over Smith demonstrates how highly head coach Steve Borthwick views him.
The 29-year-old, who has 81 caps, was a vital member of the Leicester squad that Borthwick coached to the Premiership championship last season.
Smith may now play for Harlequins against Exeter in the Premiership on Saturday.
Complete squad of forwards: Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, David Ribbans, Kyle Sinckler, Mako Vunipola, Jack Walker, and Jack Willis.
Backs include Anthony Watson, Henry Arundell, Owen Farrell, Tommy Freeman, George Ford, Ollie Lawrence, Jonny May, Alex Mitchell, and Henry Slade. Freddie Steward, Jack van Poortvliet, and Tommy Freeman are also in the backs.