England face the prospect of fielding a rookie back-row against a feared all-Lions Wales trio with Tom Wood in doubt for Saturday’s Six Nations rugby trip to Cardiff due to a shoulder injury.
Wood, 30, has been unable to train this week due to the injury sustained in the 19-16 victory over France last weekend.
The Northampton flanker’s place in the starting XV was already under threat, however, following an ineffective display against Les Bleus.
If Wood, who has 46 caps, is forced to withdraw, Jack Clifford is the likely starter at openside, with Maro Itoje and Nathan Hughes continuing at blindside and No.8 respectively.
That scenario would mean England’s trio would possess only four international back-row starts between them, a paltry number compared to the 147 held by Wales’ Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric and Toby Faletau.
The indications from Tuesday afternoon’s training session were that Jonny May would make way for Jack Nowell on the right wing in a straight swap of duties from the France win.