Six Nations
Morgan pencilled in for Italy Test
ESPN Staff
February 18, 2013
Ben Morgan prepares to launch the ball, Pennyhill Park, Bagshot, Surrey, England, February 21, 2012
England hope to have Ben Morgan back in the mix for Italy © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Freddie Burns | Stuart Lancaster | Ben Morgan
Tournaments/Tours: Six Nations
Teams: England

England coach Stuart Lancaster has backed No.8 Ben Morgan to play some part in the remaining Six Nations matches despite currently being sidelined with an ankle injury.

Morgan was injured in the opening-day victory over Scotland and has been pencilled in to return against Italy on March 10. He has joined fly-half Freddie Burns on the sidelines, with his Gloucester team-mate receiving treatment for a knee problem. With Morgan out injured, James Haskell got the nod for their match against Ireland on February 10 but Lancaster is expecting to call upon Morgan's services for the match against the Azzurri.

"Morgan and Burns are making slow progress," Lancaster said. "Freddie is further down the line, but they won't play this weekend so it will be another week or so.

"Ben will be fine. It's an ankle injury similar to the one Manu Tuilagi had. Manu was out for four or five weeks and Ben will be about the same. He wants to get himself right so he can push for selection against Italy."

Centre Jonathan Joseph has been ruled out for two weeks with a toe injury, but full-back Ben Foden has made good progress in his battle with ankle damage and will play for Northampton against Bath on Saturday. Fly-half Toby Flood and flanker Haskell missed training on Monday because of a tight calf and flu respectively.

England resume their Six Nations against France on Saturday as the only team still capable of winning the Grand Slam. Les Bleus limp into Twickenham on the back of successive defeats to Italy and Wales and with coach Philippe Saint-Andre under attack over selection, but Lancaster insists they remain formidable opposition.

"If you look at their performances in the autumn, the three wins over Samoa, Argentina and Australia show they are not a bad side," he said. "They beat Australia 33-6 and Australia then beat us. While we'll take something out of their first two Six Nations games, we'll also take something out of those autumn internationals and make sure we're ready for them."

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