Joseph added to England Six Nations squad

London (AFP) –


Bath centre Jonathan Joseph has been added to the England squad ahead of next week's Six Nations opener against Ireland.

Joseph will be part of a 36-player group that departs for a training camp in Portugal on Wednesday, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) said.

The 27-year-old returned to action for his club in Sunday's Champions Cup game against Toulouse after nine months out because of a foot injury.

Joseph, who has won 40 caps and scored 17 Test tries, last played for England against Ireland in the Six Nations 10 months ago.

He played 50 minutes of the Toulouse match as Bath completed their Champions Cup campaign.

The RFU said: "Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby) has been added to the squad, having proved his fitness at the weekend playing for his club."

Head coach Eddie Jones' squad also includes captain Owen Farrell, who underwent thumb surgery on Saturday, with his club Saracens anticipating that he will be sidelined for seven to ten days.

That timeframe leaves Farrell in a race against the clock to be fit in time to face the Six Nations champions in Dublin on February 2.

Wasps forwards Joe Launchbury and Brad Shields also feature despite injury concerns.

Lock Launchbury went off after just nine minutes of Wasps' Champions Cup game against Leinster two days ago with a neck problem, while flanker Shields did not start due to a side strain.

Jones will cut his squad to 25 players for the trip to the Irish capital next Thursday.