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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Flood 'must fight for spot'

Stuart Lancaster warned Toby Flood he cannot expect to walk straight back into the England team for Saturday's Six Nations clash with Italy.

But the reality is that he may well do, as England monitor the shoulder injury which forced Charlie Hodgson to leave the field early in Saturday's 13-6 Calcutta Cup victory over Scotland.

Hodgson had scored the decisive try on his first Test start in four years as England launched their new era' and their Six Nations campaign with a tenacious win.

The England medics will keep tabs on Hodgson, while Flood returns to the squad after making his comeback from a knee injury with a 30-minute runout for Leicester at the weekend.

Flood will have until tomorrow evening, when England's 32-man squad is trimmed down ahead of the team selection, to convince interim head coach Lancaster of his match fitness.

"I want to make sure people have to work hard to get into the team," Lancaster said. "There has to be real competition for the shirt and you have to prize it when you get it."

England will definitely be without Lee Dickson in Rome after the debutant scrum-half broke a bone in his left hand against Scotland.

Lancaster's scrum-half options are running short, with Richard Wigglesworth injured and Danny Care serving a suspension following his arrest for drink driving.

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