England rugby player Dowson in fitness race for Ireland clash

England number eight Phil Dowson is still in the running for Saturday's Six Nations clash against Ireland despite being knocked out in the closing stages of last weekend's 24-22 victory over France.

The Northampton number eight has been retained in a 24-man England training squad ahead of the tournament finale in Twickenham, with England's interim coach Stuart Lancaster to confirm the final team on Thursday.

Lancaster has included both David Strettle, who missed the France game with a chest injury, and his replacement, Charlie Sharples.

As a result, Harlequins scrum-half Karl Dickson is one of eight players released back to their clubs this weekend, including Leicester fly-half Toby Flood.

England's 24-man training squad

Forwards: Mouritz Botha (Saracens), Alex Corbisiero (London Irish), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Morgan (Scarlets), Tom Palmer (Stade Francais), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Matt Stevens (Saracens), Rob Webber (London Wasps)

Backs: Chris Ashton (Northampton Saints), Bradley Barritt (Saracens), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints), Owen Farrell (Saracens), Ben Foden (Northampton Saints), Charlie Hodgson (Saracens), Charlie Sharples (Gloucester Rugby), David Strettle (Saracens), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

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