England dealt double injury blow
Red Rose fancied to bloom regardless of selection headache
Defending champions England were hit with a double injury blow in their Six Nations preparation, with experienced campaigners Chris Robshaw and Joe Marler ruled out of the big kick-off, which is now only weeks away.
Robshaw to play no part
Two men head coach Eddie Jones would have surely had penned into his plans, Robshaw and Marler, are now no-shows, with the latter due to miss at least one match while his teammate will play no part in the competition whatsoever.
Harlequins flanker Chris Robshaw suffered a recurrence of a shoulder injury on New Year’s Day and it quickly became apparent that the surgery needed to sort it will keep him on the sidelines for at least three months. The 30-year-old, capped 55-times for his country, captained the side for four-years, before being replaced 12-months ago.
The absence of that experience, and influence on the team, are sure to be felt, but our sports traders believe it’s something England can handle and price them as 8/11 favourites to go on and win their 28th Six Nations title.
Marler vows to make Wales game
They must also get their defence started without prop Joe Marler, who picked up a leg fracture when turning out for club side Harlequins. He is another valued face handing in a sick note that will give Eddie Jones a headache.
Marler is expected to be back in contention for game two for an early crunch-tie vs Wales, but odds compilers are keen to stick by his side, who dominated last time, winning a Grand Slam, Triple Crown, Calcutta Cup and Millennium Trophy, as well the 2016 outright gong.
Another whitewash would come as little surprise to us, with 6/4 available on the Triple Crown while what would be a 14th Grand Slam title can be yours at a handy 2/1.