England sweat on Joseph and Morgan for Wales

Jonathan Joseph was injured in England's World Cup opener

2015 Rugby World Cup hosts England are sweating on the fitness of centre Jonathan Joseph and back-row forward Ben Morgan ahead of their must win clash against
Wales at Twickenham.

England beat Pool A rivals Fiji 35-11 in their opening match and also crucially secured a bonus point for scoring four tries.

However England may have paid a price for the victory as Joseph suffered a chest blow and Morgan took a knock on his knee in the match.

“Jonathan has a bit of a knock, nothing too serious and our medical staff are working extremely hard behind closed doors to get him fit for selection,”
said England backs coach Andy Farrell.

“We will give him every chance to put an England shirt on this weekend.”

“It’s something and nothing. He has got a knock on his chest. If he is fit for this weekend, we will know by tomorrow (Wednesday) internally. If he
is not fit it will not be more than a week anyway probably.

“Ben has a little bang on his knee that isn’t serious at all.”

“We don’t need to rush. We need to take our time and give everyone the best possible chance of being fit.”

The 24-year-old Joseph, with five tries in 14 Tests, has become England’s main attacking threat in midfield. It would be a blow to England were he ruled out
of the match against injury-hit Wales, who beat Uruguay 54-9 in their World Cup opener on Sunday.

If Joseph is sidelined, England could bring in rugby league convert Sam Burgess to partner Brad Barritt in midfield or opt for the guile of Henry Slade.

Playing Owen Farrell, a Saracens team-mate of Barritt’s and Andy Farrell’s son, at inside centre is also an option if England want to field a combination
that has had game time together.

“Everyone gets super-excited about the partnership of the centres. But the balance is not just for the backline it’s for the team,” said
Andy Farrell, himself a former England midfielder after changing codes from rugby league.

The back-row situation appears more straightforward, with Billy Vunipola, who impressed as a replacement against Fiji, likely to start at No 8 if Morgan is
ruled out, with James Haskell coming on to the bench.

Farrell said that he was hoping that England will have a vocal crowd for the match against Wales as they did against Fiji.

“I’ll imagine it will be the same this weekend for Wales,” said Farrell.

“Reports this morning in the press are 20,000 Welsh fans. Well that means 60,000 English fans who are going to make sure they’re louder and prouder.”

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