(Reuters) - Winger Chris Ashton will miss England’s final November international against Australia on Saturday due to a calf injury, the Rugby Football Union said on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old Sale Sharks winger was doubtful for the match against the Wallabies after a calf strain forced him off early in last weekend’s 35-15 victory over Japan.
The RFU said Ashton, who made his international return after four years earlier this month, will be out of action for up to two weeks but England forwards coach Steve Borthwick believes the team has the strength in depth to deal with the setback.
“Chris is a fantastic player that knows his way to the try line... he has been great around the squad these last few weeks so it is very disappointing,” Borthwick told a news conference.
“But it always gives opportunity to other players, and we have a lot of good players in that area.”
Borthwick said one of England’s options was 21-year-old Bath player Joe Cokanasiga who impressed on his debut against Japan where he scored his first international try.
“I think he did really well,” Borthwick said. “I think he’s a guy with massive potential and he is really eager to learn. Physically he has some great attributes.”
England are looking for a sixth successive win over Australia, who beat Italy 26-7 last time out.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge