Mixed news for England

Uncapped players Paul Hodgson and Luke Narraway are to remain with the England training squad preparing for next week's RBS 6 Nations Championship opener against Wales. [more]

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Uncapped players Paul Hodgson and Luke Narraway are to remain with the England training squad preparing for next week’s RBS 6 Nations Championship opener against Wales.

London Irish scrum-half Hodgson and Gloucester back-row forward Narraway, together with Bath flanker Michael Lipman, were called up for training at Twickenham last Monday.

And they will be among a 33-man group that assembles in Bath on Sunday night ahead of the Wales clash.

Irish scrum-half Peter Richards (biceps) and Wasps flanker Joe Worsley (neck) have already been ruled out of contention by England head coach Brian Ashton.

Richards is set to miss the entire RBS 6 Nations tournament, while Worsley will not be involved against either Wales or Italy, England’s opponents in Rome on February 10.

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Wasps wing Paul Sackey, meanwhile, will join the squad on Sunday subject to being symptom-free after contracting mumps.

There has been mixed news on the injury front for Ashton ahead of a full Premiership programme this weekend.

Leicester flanker Lewis Moody, who has featured in just one of Tigers’ last five games, returns from a groin problem against Newcastle at Welford Road on Saturday.

But Gloucester’s former rugby league wing Lesley Vainikolo misses out because of a knee injury when the league leaders entertain Wasps.

Vainikolo, tipped to make his Test debut against Wales, was hurt when Gloucester beat Heineken Cup opponents Ulster last Sunday.

And Gloucester boss Dean Ryan has decided not to risk him for Saturday’s Kingsholm clash.

Ashton is due to name his team for the Wales encounter in Bath next Tuesday.

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