Six Nations: England lock Maro Itoje ruled out of Scotland game

Maro Itoje on crutches hugs Manu Tuilagi
Itoje joined in England's celebrations on crutches after the victory over Ireland
Six Nations: England v Scotland
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 16 March Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 live & Radio Scotland; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Maro Itoje has been ruled out of England's Six Nations finale with Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Saracens lock has not played since England beat Ireland on the opening weekend because of two knee injuries.

Uncapped 20-year-old Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith is included in Eddie Jones' 31-man squad.

Bath centre Jonathan Joseph is also named, but there is no place for Harlequins flanker and former England captain Chris Robshaw.

Charlie Ewels and Elliott Stooke are both included as second-row cover.

England are almost certain to win the Six Nations title if they beat Scotland and Grand Slam-chasing Wales lose at home to Ireland.

Itoje picked up another knock in training last week and defence coach John Mitchell told BBC Sport: "We put his health first and foremost - ahead of the risk of the injury recurring.

"We made a decision that the right thing is to get him fully fit."

Explaining the involvement of Smith, he added: "I need to make it very clear, he's here to train.

"Marcus is a player of the future and could be potentially in the next World Cup cycle. He's been in England camps before and it's a chance to update where we're at and also where he's at.

"There's nothing better for him than rubbing shoulders with Owen (Farrell) and Fordy (George Ford) because he will just grow from being here."

On the question of Danny Cipriani being added, Mitchell said: "Should an injury occur to Owen or Fordy we would need to have a serious selection meeting and it's what's right for the team as opposed to individuals. The door is open for Danny, like any other fly-half that we look at."

England's 31-man squad to face Scotland:

Forwards: Dan Cole, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Nathan Hughes, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Ben Moon, Brad Shields, Kyle Sinckler, Elliott Stooke, Billy Vunipola, Harry Williams, Mark Wilson.

Backs: Joe Cokanasiga, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Dan Robson, Henry Slade, Marcus Smith, Ollie Thorley, Ben Te'o, Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs.

Analysis

Smith's call-up has come from left field, and while he is not being considered for the game against Scotland, he continues to be seen as one for the future.

It's also rare to see England train with three fly-halves in camp, which raises the prospect of Eddie Jones returning to the George Ford/Owen Farrell axis this weekend.

The England boss said last week "wait and see" when asked about when he would next reunite the pair.

It's also noteworthy that Chris Robshaw has been left out, despite his return to fitness, while another experienced campaigner, Mike Brown, has again missed out on even the wider training squad.

Table and final round of fixtures

Six Nations standings
Wales will receive a three-point bonus if they beat Ireland to clinch the Grand Slam, thus ensuring they will be crowned Six Nations champions
Kick-offMatchBBC coverage
12:30 GMTItaly v FranceLive scores
14:45 GMTWales v IrelandWatch on BBC One & listen on BBC Radio 5 Live
17:00 GMTEngland v ScotlandListen on BBC Radio 5 Live

Top Stories