England's injury concerns have eased after medics confirmed captain Steve Borthwick's rib injury will not force him to miss the autumn international series.
Borthwick has been diagnosed with a sprained rib cartilage, which could rule him out of Saracens’ Guinness Premiership clash Gloucester this weekend but is not a long-term problem.
The England skipper suffered the injury in Saracens’ game against Harlequins on Saturday but he refused to be substituted until the victory had been assured.
The news will come as a relief to England manager Martin Johnson, who has already lost inside centre Riki Flutey and full-back Delon Armitage to shoulder injuries.
Borthwick has started the season in impressive form and Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter outlined at the weekend how big a loss he would have been to both club and country if the injury had proven more serious.
“He is playing really well, which is fantastic for England. He is a serious world-class international lock,” said Venter.
“If you talk about a disciplined, honest, hard-working individual then Steve Borthwick fits that bill 100%. I have been very blessed to have a captain like that.
“In our first two games this season Steve had the most contributions and the second most contributions. We measure everything - tackles, ball carries, his rucking, his defensive play - and he is right at the top of our team.”