England expect fully fit squad for semi-final against New Zealand

England expect to have a fully fit squad to choose from when they face New Zealand in Saturday’s World Cup semi-final in Yokohama.

Wing Jonny May scored two tries in the 40-16 quarter-final win over Australia but also suffered a hamstring injury.

Jack Nowell has also had a hamstring problem but assistant coach Neal Hatley expects both to be available.

“It’s fantastic where we are, all 31 being available for selection at the end of the week,” said Hatley.

“Jonny’s bouncing around this morning. He has a small twinge and we’ll assess where he is a little bit later today.

“He’s in really good spirits, moving well, and we expect Jack to be fit for selection as well.”

Nowell made his return from an ankle problem against Argentina in the pool stage but a hamstring concern kept the wing out against the Wallabies.

Hatley says he was “unbelievably impressed” by prop Mako Vunipola’s performance against the Wallabies in his first start at the World Cup after a hamstring injury.

“He continues to go from strength to strength,” said Hatley. “And he needs to because Ellis Genge and Joe Marler have been ferocious in training and everyone’s putting the pressure on.

“We’ve talked before about this team of 31 and everyone’s doing their part but Mako, when he plays well like he did, is a real force.

“Without sounding massively blase about it, I wasn’t surprised at the performance he turned in, but I can understand why people outside of our group would look at it and go ‘that’s a hell of a performance’.”

England coach Eddie Jones is set to name his team to face the All Blacks on Thursday.

The two-time defending champions beat Ireland 46-14 in Tokyo on Saturday to book their place in the last four.

New Zealand lock Brodie Retallick says the tournament favourites will have to be “on our game” against a “very good English side”.

“We know they’re always physical,” said the former World Rugby player of the year.

“The forwards are very mobile, they carry the ball well and have good skillsets, and also the backs play an expansive game.

“They’ve got great attacking assets across the park and a mobile tight five that are scoring tries from 25 metres out. There’s lots of variation.” (Courtesy BBC Sports)


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