International Rugby
England draft in Paice and Robson
ESPN Staff
October 28, 2012
London Irish's David Paice tackles Quins' Maurie Fa'asavalu, London Irish v Harlequins, Aviva Premiership, Madejski Stadium, Reading, England, October 28, 2012
London Irish hooker David Paice has been called into the England squad following an injury to Northampton's Dylan Hartley © Getty Images

London Irish hooker David Paice and Harlequins lock George Robson are set to link up with the England squad following injuries to Northampton duo Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes.

Hartley and Lawes have emerged as major fitness concerns ahead of England's opening end of year international against Fiji in two weeks' time after picking up knee injuries during the Saints' Premiership loss to Saracens on Saturday.

Neither player made it beyond half-time but still joined up with the rest of the England squad on Sunday to be assessed by the England medical team. Confirmation as to the extent of the injuries has not yet been issued by the Rugby Football Union but Paice and Robson, who both featured in Quins' Premiership victory over Irish on Sunday, have already been called up as cover.

"They've done something, but we will know a lot more later," Saints boss Jim Mallinder said yesterday. "I think Lawes and Hartley are the sort of characters that if they had just got a knock and they will be running around on Monday they wouldn't have come off. Courtney tried to carry on, but he was unable to do so. You want them on the field and getting through games. It was disappointing they had to go off."

Lawes missed much of last season with an injury to his right knee, but went off in the 27th minute with a left-knee problem. Hartley took a blow just before half-time and did not emerge for the second half, though Mallinder could not say which knee the England hooker had injured.

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