Jamie George is poised to make his comeback in England’s clash with Japan on Saturday after completing a rapid recovery from a foot injury.
George is one of two hookers included in a reduced 25-man squad picked to finalise preparations for the Twickenham showdown and is likely to provide bench cover for Luke Cowan-Dickie, who started the 30-29 defeat by Argentina that opened the campaign.
It will complete an unexpected return for the 32-year-old after he was told he would miss entire Autumn Nations Series due to breaking two metatarsals on club duty for Saracens against Leicester on October 1.
But the expected 10 to 12 period of recovery has almost been halved to give England a boost as they look to rebuild after a disappointing start to the autumn.
Otherwise Eddie Jones could opt for the same starting and replacement forwards that faced the Pumas, all of whom have been retained apart from discarded hooker Jack Singleton.
Guy Porter features among the backs as centre cover for Manu Tuilagi, who left the field in the final quarter against Argentina because of a blister.
Tuilagi took part in training at the squad’s Surrey base on Wednesday but England will not take any risks with the destructive Sale runner.
England squad – Forwards: A Coles (Northampton Saints), L Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), T Curry (Sale Sharks), E Genge (Bristol Bears), J George (Saracens), J Heyes (Leicester Tigers), J Hill (Sale Sharks), M Itoje (Saracens), D Ribbans (Northampton Saints), S Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs) K Sinckler (Bristol Bears), B Vunipola (Saracens), M Vunipola (Saracens), J Willis (unattached).
Backs: J Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), O Farrell (Saracens), J May (Gloucester Rugby), J Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), G Porter (Leicester Tigers), H Slade (Exeter Chiefs), M Smith (Harlequins), F Steward (Leicester Tigers), M Tuilagi (Sale Sharks), J van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers), B Youngs (Leicester Tigers).