BRAD SHIELDS missed England training and looks unlikely to face Ireland on Saturday.
The Wasps flanker has been struggling with a side strain and will most likely be replaced at No6 by Mark Wilson for the Six Nations opener in Dublin.
Getty Images8 Boss Eddie Jones looks like he will be without injured Brad Shields in Dublin
Getty Images – Getty8 Shields, right, has been doing rehab work on his side strain in Portugal
Boss Eddie Jones names his team on Thursday and will fine-tune his squad tonight as he sends players home from their Portugal training camp.
And defence coach John Mitchell said that Wilson is the man England will turn to with Billy Vunipola back to start as No8.
When asked about Shields' cover, the Kiwi said: "Mark Wilson springs to mind, he was outstanding at eight and can clearly be a utility at six and seven.
"We have Courtney Lawes who has also been in good form since the autumn and played well against Clermont. Those are the choices that we have.
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"Then you have got the likes of Nathan Hughes and Billy that could adapt depending on our back row mix. "
Centre Ben Te'o was also absent from Tuesday morning's session in the Algarve.
And as the rest of the backs were put through their paces by Jones, Manu Tuilagi, Jack Nowell and Jonathan Joseph all worked away from the core group.
Mitchell, who is experiencing the Six Nations for the first time since 2000, said: “I’ve always said to friends that it is a very emotive tournament.
Eddie Jones to Chris Ashton: “He hasn’t scored many lately – we need to build his confidence up ! Let’s get him used to putting them down.” 😂 #Sixnations #irlveng #rugby pic.twitter.com/HEtYoCjrV7
— Jonny Fordham 🏉📰 (@SunJonnyFordham) January 29, 2019
Getty Images8 Billy Vunipola will be back in the No8 shirt
Getty Images8 Courtney Lawes scraps for the ball
"It was very emotive back in my previous experience. I still think it has that but rugby has evolved and so have the athletes in the game.
"You are representing your nation and we are representing a nation that is not well liked by other countries so that adds its own little spice.
“I don’t think we have been in too many situations where we have the No 2, 3, 4 and 6-ranked sides in the world in the Six Nations.
"In the Rugby Championship it is 1,2, 7 and 8. It just gives you an indication of how northern hemisphere rugby has come on.
Getty Images8 Mike Brown could start at full-back to counter Ireland's superb kicking game
Getty Images8 Manu Tuilagi was working in a group with Jonathan Joseph and Jack Nowell
Getty Images8 Ellis Genge and Dan Cole are back in contention for England
Getty Images8 Dan Robson will make his debut off the bench in Dublin
“You only have to look at the crowds that attend games.
"I can’t believe the support the game derives in the northern hemisphere compared to the southern hemisphere. In my view the game is in a very healthy state here.”