Six Nations
Dan Cole set to start against Wales
ESPN Staff
February 2, 2015

England will be without tight-head Davey Wilson for Friday night's Six Nations opener against Wales with Dan Cole expected to start in his place.

Wilson is suffering with a neck injury so Cole looks set to be handed the No.3 shirt with Kieran Brookes and Henry Thomas vying for a spot on the bench. Cole last played for England in the 2014 Six Nations but was ruled out with a neck injury that kept him sidelined for the rest of the championship and until November.

In his absence, Wilson was first-choice tight-head but in an expected reverse of what occurred in the wake of England's win over Scotland last February, Cole looks set to come back into the side for Wilson despite having last played for Leicester in December due to a foot injury.

"David Wilson won't be ready for Friday. He's not recovered from the nerve impingement," forwards coach Graham Rowntree said. "We're hoping David will be in the mix for next week, but he's not right at the moment unfortunately.

"Dan is available and has progressed well. He trained with us all last week. We increased his rehabilitation and he's trained fully for the last four days. Dan is a class, proven operator. He's not been out for six months and has not been sat twiddling his thumbs for the last six weeks. We've trained pretty fast and he's slotted in nicely."

Wilson joins the growing injury list with Ed Slater, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Ben Morgan, Ben Foden, Manu Tuilagi and Owen Farrell all out of the opener. Tom Wood, Geoff Parling, Brad Barritt and Kyle Eastmond are also unlikely to feature due to injury.

The second-row is likely to see George Kruis and Dave Attwood partnered in what will be the former's first hit out in three weeks due to suspension. "It's not as if George has been out for three months. These guys do plenty of fitness and there are other ways to keep fit, so I've got no qualms about his match fitness," Rowntree said. "From what we've seen in training I'm very happy with where Dan and George are. We won't be the first team to have taken the field with guys who haven't played a lot of rugby."

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