Derby fixture may prove key for injured duo
GLOUCESTER pair Ben Morgan and Freddie Burns are targeting a return to action in the West Country derby at Bath in a bid to prove their fitness for the tail end of the Six Nations campaign.
Morgan limped out of England's opening-day Six Nations victory over Scotland with an ankle injury, while Burns damaged a knee ligament in Gloucester's 36-16 victory over Mont de Marsan.
England boss Stuart Lancaster is confident that both players will be able to return to his squad, but ruled both out of contention to face France on Saturday.
The Six Nations takes another two-week break after the third round of fixtures this weekend, meaning the pair could prove their fitness to Lancaster at Bath on Friday, March 1.
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"Morgan and Burns are making slow progress," Lancaster said. "Freddie is further down the line, but they won't play this weekend so it will be another week or so."
"Ben will be fine. It's an ankle injury similar to the one Manu Tuilagi had. Manu was out for four or five weeks and Ben will be about the same.
"He wants to get himself right so he can push for selection against Italy."
Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees remains with Lancaster's England squad and will be battling to keep his place ahead of the visit of France to Twickenham on Saturday (3pm).