Alex Mitchell is on standby to replace Jack van Poortvliet in England’s World Cup squad if the Leicester scrum-half’s worst injury fears are confirmed. Van Poortvliet is set to undergo a scan on his right ankle following his takedown on Saturday’s game against Wales. Despite being in significant pain, the 22-year-old player is one of three scrum-halves named in Steve Borthwick’s 33-man squad for the tournament. An update on his fitness is expected on Monday, and if the damage is severe, Mitchell will be called in as a replacement.
Mitchell had initially missed out on the original squad selection despite making impactful appearances during the Six Nations earlier this year. He injected energy and tempo into England’s play during the tournament. Borthwick acknowledged Mitchell’s talent and readiness to step in when needed.
In addition to their scrum-half concerns, England also face uncertainty at the half-back position due to Owen Farrell’s potential ban. Farrell was sent off for a dangerous tackle and now awaits the outcome of his disciplinary hearing. There is a possibility that he may miss the World Cup opener against Argentina, as well as subsequent group games. However, George Ford’s outstanding performance as a replacement gives England hope. Borthwick praised Ford’s game management, kicking skills, and distribution ability.
As England awaits updates on both Van Poortvliet and Farrell, the team is prepared to make necessary changes to ensure depth and strength in key positions. Borthwick emphasized the importance of having backup options in case of injuries or suspensions.