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England get triple fitness boost ahead of Six Nations

2 min

London (AFP)

England boss Eddie Jones has received a major boost ahead of the Six Nations opener against Italy after three of his star players were passed fit.

Flanker Chris Robshaw is available after a back problem, lock Maro Itoje has recovered from his hip injury and full-back Mike Brown has shaken off blurred vision.

All three have returned to training and have been given the all-clear for England's Six Nations opener at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.

"We've had some miracles. There have been some great recoveries because of the fantastic work from the medical and strength and conditioning staff," Jones said on Tuesday.

"All of them (Robshaw, Itoje, Brown) have returned. We did some stuff yesterday (Monday) and they all came through really well."

Only Zach Mercer has dropped out of contention for the starting line-up due to a viral infection.

With Mercer out, Sam Simmonds is in pole position to start in Rome in the absence of the injured Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes.

"Mercer is doing okay but he's still got a lot of work to do. Physically he's got a lot of work to do," Jones said.

"You put him next to James Haskell and you can see the physical work he's got to do to be a Test player.

"He has other attributes and he's doing well, but he's got to get stronger. We play a very physical game and you need physical strength to play it well."

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