Kevin Sinfield is excited by the options Ollie Lawrence and Manu Tuilagi offer to beef up England’s midfield for this weekend’s showdown with Scotland at Murrayfield.

The centre duo have both returned to England’s 36-player squad since the 16-14 win over Wales at Twickenham in the second round of this year’s Guinness Six Nations, having missed the first two matches due to injury.

Fraser Dingwall and Henry Slade occupied the inside and outside centre berths respectively as England edged past Italy and Wales, and while skills and kicking coach Sinfield has been pleased with the duo, the availability of Lawrence and Tuilagi offers variety to their plans.

“It gives us plenty of options through the midfield,” Sinfield told Sky Sports News. “We’ve gone from an area we thought we might be a bit light to six real contenders [including uncapped pair Max Ojomoh and Oscar Beard].

England Training - Pennyhill Park - Monday February 19th
England's Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marler during a training session at Honda England Rugby Performance Centre, Pennyhill Park, Bagshot. Picture date: Monday February 19, 2024.
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Manu Tuilagi is in contention to feature for England against Scotland

“The obvious word you use when you talk about Ollie and Manu is power, so it’s great to have them available.

“Fraser and Sladey was a different combination. Fraser is a very smart ball carrier who has some really good pass selection and going to the line.

“You understand whichever pairing, there are strengths and weaknesses. To have those two available makes sure that power box is ticked, as well as some of the ball movement bits.”

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With England having won their first two games, Sky Sports News’ Eleanor Roper and digital journalist Megan Wellens question if Steve Borthwick’s men can win the Six Nations

Forwards George Martin and Luke Cowan-Dickie are both available to add depth to England’s pack options at Murrayfield on Saturday evening as they seek to wrest back the Calcutta Cup and end a run of three straight losses to Scotland.

One position where England will definitely have a different starter from the opening two matches is at scrum-half, though, after Alex Mitchell suffered a knee injury. He was undergoing a scan on Tuesday, after which there will be a clearer idea of how long he will be ruled out for.

Harry Randall was called into the squad as cover for Danny Care and Ben Spencer as a result of Mitchell’s injury, and it is likely to be Care who gets the nod to start at No 9 when head coach Steve Borthwick names his team on Thursday.

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James Cole reflects on England’s win over Wales in the Six Nations

“His form for a number of years has been outstanding,” Sinfield said of Care, who featured off the replacements bench against Italy and Wales. “To be 37 and still be doing what he’s been doing tells you a lot about the professional he has been.

“You can’t just turn that on at 32 or 33 and expect to be playing like he is – he’s been doing that a long, long time.

“He deserves every accolade he gets, and he’s been a big part of what we’ve done, certainly when he came into camp in the World Cup last year and was a real addition.

“Off the field, he has a real presence. You come across those guys in teams who are able to get more out of the players they play with, and he’s one of them.”

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