England dealt double injury blow ahead of Six Nations opener vs Scotland

England will be without two more stars through injury as they face Scotland on Saturday for their Six Nations opener on Saturday afternoon.

Eddie Jones will have to fill two huge holes within his side as he prepares his charges for the clash with their Calcutta Cup rivals at Murrayfield.

Step-in captain Courtney Lawes is a confirmed absentee through injury, having been unable to fully train this week due to concussion, while lock Jonny Hill is also out through a stress fracture to his leg.

It leaves Jones needed to find a replacement captain for the match, as well as filling gaps left by the absences of two important parts of his team.

His side has already been reshuffled significantly, with the likes of captain Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi and Jonny May already ruled out of the game.

While the talent of those absentees will be an obvious miss, Jones also has to contend with the fact he will be short of experienced options to replace them in what is such an important match.

Either Bath's Charlie Ewels or Nick Isiekwe of Northampton are likely to start in the second row following these latest confirmed injuries, while uncapped prospect Ollie Chessum is a candidate for the bench.

Mark Atkinson and Harry Randall are also likely to be in the matchday squad, with several others from England's enlarged training camp having already been cut from contention.

The absence of Lawes – he suffered a concussion in Northampton's Champions Cup defeat to Ulster in January – means Jones needs to find a new skipper.

The captaincy is likely to be taken on by Tom Curry, though Luke Cowan-Dickie is also a possible stand-in.

"The two things that have been really spoken about are the resilience of the team and how the team rallies around each other in adversity," the scrum coach Matt Proudfoot said.

A much-changed England side will have to live up to that assessment if it is to get a good result from the crunch fixture against Scotland.

Proudfoot believes there will be no lack of leadership in the side despite Lawes' absence: "I think we are in a good position when it comes to leadership. It is not led by one man, it is led by a group of people."

Meanwhile, the weather is set to play a major role in the match, with Murrayfield set to be battered by gusty winds and heavy rain on Saturday.

Former Scottish international Proudfoot's experience has been invaluable as the coaching staff prepare the team to face the elements north of the border.

"You need experience of having played there and of how the wind swirls in the stadium," he added.

"We are trying to replicate that for the players so they will be used to it when they get there."

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