Another massive England blow as Anthony Watson ruled out of World Cup

The troubled England build-up to the Rugby World Cup continued on Thursday afternoon with the revelation that Anthony Watson will miss the entire tournament in France because of a calf problem.

In the week Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola were issued with bans that rule them out of the critical opener against Argentina on September 9 in Marseille, Steve Borthwick has now lost a first-choice wing.

Watson sustained the damage in last Saturday’s 29-10 rout by Ireland and has been replaced in the 33-man World Cup squad by Jonny May, who starts Saturday’s Summer Nations Series clash with Fiji.

It is a savage blow for the British and Irish Lions three-quarter who had previously battled back from long-term knee and achilles injuries and was poised to start the Pumas showdown.

“In the game against Ireland, Anthony Watson suffered an injury to his calf which means he can’t play for a number of weeks,” Borthwick said. “As such he will not be part of the 33 that travels to France next week. We are all really disappointed for him.”

Watson follows ankle injury victim Jack van Poortvliet in being forced to withdraw from the original squad named by Borthwick. A grim picture is developing in the back three with Borthwick revealing that Elliot Daly and Henry Arundell have been ruled out of the World Cup send-off against Fiji at Twickenham.

Daly suffered a knee issue against Ireland but England are confident he will recover in time to face Argentina while Arundell has been struck down by a “freak back spasm”.

Borthwick was able to deliver a positive update on Tom Curry after confirming that he will return to full training imminently having missed all four warm-up Tests because of an ankle injury.