Eddie Jones admits he is delighted at the “miracle” recovery of Jack Nowell and two senior England players in time to face Italy in their Six Nations opener on Sunday.
Exeter’s Nowell had initially been ruled out for three to four weeks by an ankle injury but is now in contention to play at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, having benefited from what Jones describes as a “magic sponge”.
Harlequins duo Chris Robshaw and Mike Brown are also in contention and will line up at flanker and full-back after overcoming the respective back problem and blurred vision that had seen them rated as “borderline” by Jones.
Completing an encouraging injury update was Maro Itoje’s rehabilitation from a hip complaint, to leave Jones in positive mood as his side prepare for a campaign that could see them win the Six Nations for the third year in a row.
“We’ve had some miracles,” said Jones, who names his team to face Italy on Friday.
“Remember in the old days they used to have magic sponges? You’d be down and out and the guy would come out with a yellow sponge, put it on you and you’d recover.
“Well, they’re back! The magic sponges are back. Jack’s gone from being out for three weeks to ‘he’s playing’.
“Advice changes and people react differently to injuries. When I told you he wasn’t in a position to play, he wasn’t. That was the medical advice.
“All of them [Robshaw, Itoje, Brown] have returned. We did some stuff [on Monday] and they all came through really well.”
Nowell is likely to start on the bench and is still being considered as an option at outside centre after being compared by Jones to New Zealand great Conrad Smith.
Eddie Jones confirmed Mike Brown, Maro Itoje and Chris Robshaw all trained on Tuesday ahead of England's Six Nations opener against Italy
“Jack’s a good strong player, he carries well through traffic. He’s got good footwork, he’s got a high work-rate and he’s an energetic player,” added Jones.
“He reminds me a bit of Conrad Smith. The idea of him at 13 came into my head two years ago when Exeter played Clermont. He played quite well.”
Jones is determined to challenge any preconceptions held by his players going into the tournament, in particular, any ‘fear factor’ associated with playing away from home.
Chris Robshaw gives England an injury boost ahead of the Six Nations, as he takes part in their training camp
“I really enjoy the sociology and the psychology of the Six Nations,” he said. “There all these premeditated ideas of what you can do and you can’t do.
“The home and away in the Six Nations is shoved down your throat consistently. I was brought up in a place where home’s home all the time and you don’t worry about it.
“If you get the same message all the time, you start to believe it. Our job is to create a team that doesn’t believe it.”