England have been handed another boost with the return to fitness of second row Joe Launchbury following Billy Vunipola’s inclusion in Saracens’ team on Friday.
Launchbury has not featured for club side Wasps since September, missing the entirety of the Autumn Internationals as a result.
That was due to surgery on his knee but the 27-year-old has now recovered and will captain Wasps in their clash with Northampton Saints on Sunday.
Launchbury’s return increases the options for Eddie Jones ahead of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations, with England looking to improve on last year’s fifth-place finish.
In November Jones used four different players in the second row, with Maro Itoje starting alongside Courtney Lawes, George Kruis and Charlie Ewels.
Itoje and Lawes’ ability to play in the back row means that Launchbury’s availability gives Jones another possible combination for the opening game of the Championship in Dublin against Grand Slam champions Ireland.
Jones will also be keeping a close eye on Vunipola, who will line up at No.8 for Saracens after recovering from a broken arm that kept him out of the November Tests.