England will not be deterred from accepting Jack Nowell to the World Cup despite the setback that forced the Exeter wing to undergo emergency surgery.
Nowell’s miserable run of fortune continued in the team’s training camp in north-east Italy when abdominal pain saw him admitted to a local hospital.
That day his appendix was removed and it wasn’t till four nights later that he had been introduced to continue his comeback kilograms lighter and having a ferocious appetite.
This was the latest twist in a tale of woe that has prevented him from getting involved in the three World Cup warm-up games staged so far.
An ankle injury sustained through the Gallagher Premiership final on June 2 resulted in surgery and, after a drawback during his rehabilitation, Exeter manager Rob Baxter declared he’s”touch and go” to be all set for Japan.
But England have indicated he will go , by the time the Pool C matches from Argentina and France are staged, he is going to be healthy and at full fitness.
As his performance from the final signaled, Nowell is a versatile back-three participant who breaks tackles. If match, he’s a certainty for Eddie Jones’ matchday 23.
“Jack’s been’gutsing’ it a little. He is a character that is fantastic, a bugger and not a lot down him. But he’s hungry and nice!” Defence coach John Mitchell explained.
“He is in our World Cup squad. We are going to be backing Jack. We are no different to a lot of squads. Everybody’s got bits and niggles and bits. Encourage and you have got to back that threat.
“There’s always risk. We’ve got to back our own approaches, our instinct and our instincts as opposed to falling into the trap of becoming hasty.
“At this point in time we back Jack and we’ll encourage him to reach there. We wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing we believed that’s how he’s heading.”
Speaking at the World Cup squad statement of England last month, Nowell demonstrated that the injuries that have plagued his Test career have taken a psychological toll.
“Over the last couple of years if I am honest I’ve really, really fought with my accidents,” Nowell said.
“Normally I am pretty positive and can find something to work on, but I have really fought.
“You feel a little that you are letting them down which you can not be out there all the time.
“You play because you want to play every single game so to be advised, or to your body to tell you you can’t play is the most frustrating thing.
“After I tore my hamstring in practice in the fall international I did not actually think it.
“The physios were telling me and the scans were still telling me however, it was actually killing me to be informed I would be out for six or seven weeks. I had been in captivity.”
Nowell’s Exeter team-mate Henry Slade appears increasingly unlikely to play against Italy as he he continues his comeback from a knee injury.
Slade has missed the double-header against Wales and also rout of Ireland to confront him with the prospect of entering the World Cup in the bank because the Premiership closing on June 1.
Wing Ruaridh McConnochie is expected to make his debut against Italy after recovering from a hamstring injury.