England wing Jack Nowell given World Cup backing despite recent appendix op

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Jack Nowell’s build-up to the World Cup has suffered another setback after he was forced to have his appendix removed at England’s training camp in Treviso.

The Exeter wing spent four nights in hospital after first experiencing pain upon arrival in north east Italy last Wednesday.

An operation was completed that same night and he was released on Sunday to continue his recovery.

Nowell has yet to make an appearance in the three World Cup warm-up games staged so far this summer as he recovers from the ankle injury sustained in the Gallagher Premiership final.

He will not be involved in Friday’s send-off against Italy at St James’ Park either, leaving the tournament opener against Tonga on September 22 in Sapporo as his likely comeback match.

“Jack was sick. He had appendicitis and came out of hospital yesterday. He’s nice and hungry! He’s in good spirits and is back running,” defence coach John Mitchell said.

“It’s a sickness that you can’t deal with too much and you lose a bit of weight, but we back Jack. It’s about being supportive and making sure he gets healthy.

“His general ankle progression is in line with where he needs to be. He’s right on target for us. I don’t know how much weight he’s lost but he looks lean.”

Nowell’s Exeter team-mate Henry Slade appears increasingly unlikely to play against Italy as he he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

Slade has also missed the double-header against Wales and rout of Ireland to confront him with the prospect of entering the World Cup without a minute of game time in the bank since the Premiership final on June 1.

Tuesday is England’s main practice session ahead of the visit of the Azzurri on Friday and Slade will need to prove his fitness if he is to have any chance of being involved.

Mako Vunipola’s rehabilitation from a hamstring problem is progressing on schedule, leaving him with another five to six days of recovery time.

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Dev Toner left out of Ireland's 31-man Rugby World Cup squad

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Devin Toner is the shock omission from Ireland’s 31-man World Cup squad.

The 33-year-old Leinster lock has numbered among Joe Schmidt’s most trusted lieutenants, starting 50 of the Kiwi head coach’s 67 Test matches as Ireland boss.

Munster’s South Africa-born Jean Kleyn has been given the nod ahead of Toner in the squad Ireland submitted to World Rugby on Monday.

Kleyn only qualified for Ireland on residency two days before his Test debut, the 29-10 victory over Italy on August 10.

But now the 26-year-old has edged out Toner, who has proved a lineout and restart banker throughout Schmidt’s six years at Ireland’s helm.

Leinster’s Luke McGrath has been given the nod at scrum-half, at the expense of Connacht’s Kieran Marmion, with Munster powerhouse Chris Farrell edging out Will Addison in a four-strong centre line-up.

Joey Carbery has been selected alongside Johnny Sexton and Jack Carty at fly-half.

Munster star Carbery is expected to be fit from his ankle problem in time for Ireland’s opening World Cup Pool A clash, against Scotland on September 22.

Carbery will be Ireland’s emergency scrum-half cover, with Schmidt opting to take just two recognised number nines.

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Lock Cory Hill a major doubt for Wales’ World Cup squad due to leg fracture

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Wales lock Cory Hill has emerged as a major World Cup injury concern just 24 hours before head coach Warren Gatland names his squad for the tournament.

Gatland revealed after Wales’ 22-17 warm-up defeat against Ireland in Cardiff that Hill has suffered a fractured in his leg.

The 24 times-capped Dragons forward has not played since scoring a try during the Six Nations victory over England in February.

He suffered an ankle problem during that game, and Gatland, who announces his 31-man World cup squad on Sunday, has delivered a fresh update.

“Our big discussion tonight is with Cory Hill,” Gatland said. “He has got a fracture in his leg.

“It is a very small fracture which could keep him out until game two or three (of the World Cup) so that will be a big discussion on whether we take him or not.”

It will be a huge blow for Wales if Hill does not go to Japan, especially given his performances last season, while he also captained Wales in two Tests against Argentina during their 2018 summer tour.

Gatland said there are “probably half a dozen positions” up for debate when he sits down with his fellow coaches on Saturday evening.

“It was a good exercise,” added Gatland, reflecting on Wales’ first home loss since November 2017.

“Some people put up their hand and made a good showing, and with others we had a few questions answered. It was good from that point of view.

“We will sit down tonight and it will take a few hours to finalise the squad.

“There are probably half a dozen positions that are really up for debate. Apart from that, we are quite comfortable with 24 or 25 players.”

Asked if he thought it would be the best Wales squad he takes to a World Cup, Gatland added: “I think so, yes.

“I think it’s the best squad in terms of the depth we’ve got.

“If we do pick up a few injuries like we did in 2015, I think we would be able to cope so much better now.

“The expectation from ourselves is that we will be very disappointed if we don’t make the quarter-finals, and that’s step one. Then you take every game as it comes.

“I think we’ve massively over-achieved in what we’ve done in the last 12 years.

“We are not finished yet. If we are mentally and physically right, we’re capable of beating anyone in the world. I honestly believe we will go a long way at this World Cup.”

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