England have injury concerns over Jonathan Joseph and Ben Morgan ahead of their second 2015 World Cup fixture. Backs coach Andy Farrell has revealed that the fleet-footed Bath centre is suffering from a chest problem and the latter with a minor knee issue, but hopes that both might be fit enough to feature in the crucial Pool A clash against Wales on 26 September.
Both men started for Stuart Lancaster's side on opening night as two tries from Mike Brown helped to secure a 35-11 victory over a resilient Fiji, although neither registered much of an impact during an understandably nervy showing at Twickenham. With defensive captain Brad Barritt also failing to impress in only his second appearance back from a long-term injury, Joseph's potential absence could leave the door open for the likes of Sam Burgess, Owen Farrell or even Henry Slade to stake a claim for a starting berth.
"At the start of every Test week we have bumps and bruises," Farrell explained at his latest press conference, as reported by The Guardian. "JJ has a bit of a knock. It's nothing too serious and our medical staff are working hard to get him fit and in and England shirt this weekend. It's something and nothing. He has got a knock on his chest. If he is fit for this weekend, we will know by tomorrow internally. If he is not fit it will not be more than a week anyway probably. "
While Joseph appears a real doubt to line up against the Welsh, Morgan's knock does not sound quite as troubling. If the Gloucester number eight, who recently spent seven months on the sidelines with a broken left leg sustained during an Aviva Premiership clash with Saracens in January, is not ready to start then Billy Vunipola will surely be the beneficiary after his own second-half try against Fiji.
"Ben has a little bang on his knee that isn't serious at all," Farrell continued. "There are still a couple more knocks, people who are not serious. We'll leave them unnamed. Some guys will train today, some guys won't train today. We'll see what happens over the course of today. We don't need to rush."
Warren Gatland may be forgiven for not expressing too much sympathy for Lancaster's personnel issues with Wales currently experiencing something of an injury crisis. With Jonathan Davies, Rhys Webb and Leigh Halfpenny all ruled out of action before the World Cup began, Tyler Morgan has this week been called up to the squad to replace Cory Allen after the Cardiff Blues centre tore his hamstring while running in three scores in the 54-9 demolition of minnows Uruguay.
If that was not quite enough, flanker Dan Lydiate also sustained a head injury in that costly victory at the Millennium Stadium and front-row trio Paul James, Samson Lee and Aaron Jarvis are now nursing calf and rib problems respectively. Full-back Liam Williams also injured his thigh, but is expected to play against England.