England will make a late decision on the fitness of Lewis Moody, who is doubtful for Sunday's RBS Six Nations Championship clash with Ireland at Lansdowne Road because of an infected finger.
Sale's Chris Jones, who was placed on standby earlier this week, will fly to Dublin with the England squad on Thursday afternoon.
If Moody is ruled out, Gloucester's Andy Hazell will be drafted into the starting line up with Jones taking Hazell's place on the replacements' bench.
England head coach Andy Robinson revealed that the Leicester flanker was in hospital as the England squad set off for Dublin.
Moody has been put on a drip in an attempt to force antibiotics through his infected finger.
If the treatment is successful it is hoped he will join up with the rest of the squad on Friday.
But Robinson admitted: "The chances of him playing are very slim. The infection is deeper than was originally thought."
Moody suffered a cut to his finger during England's defeat by France at Twickenham a fortnight ago and the injury became infected during a 10-minute appearance as a replacement in Leicester's crushing 83-10 victory over Newcastle in the Premiership last weekend.
Robinson said: "The mud got into it. He has had quite a big course of antibiotics but they haven't done the job we hoped they would.
"He has now had to go into hospital and been put on a drip to force the antibiotics through,'' added Robinson, who expressed his thanks to Sale Sharks who have supplied standby Jones to the England squad at short notice.
"I feel sorry for the people at Sale. Another player has been taken from them but they have been very supportive to us," he added.
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.