Exeter Chiefs wing Nowell, who played in all five matches during last season’s tournament and helped his club to a 32-21 win over Harlequins at The Stoop on Saturday, has returned to form and impressed during his time with the England squad at their Pennyhill Park base.
The guys who played against Wales and Italy did really well and the good thing is that others, who are now fit and training, are pushing hard for selection.
Gloucester wing May, who started in the wins over Wales and Italy in the opening two rounds of this year’s championship, had been tipped to lose his place to Nowell with Bath Rugby’s Anthony Watson expected to retain his place on the right wing for the third round match at the Aviva Stadium.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster still faces a selection dilemma in the back three with Harlequins star Mike Brown still working through his graduated return-to-play protocols afte being knocked out in the first-half against Italy.
Saracens full-back Alex Goode is on standby to return to international duty should Brown fail to make it through, while Worcester Warriors full-back Chris Pennell is set to remain with the squad to aid his reintegration into the England set-up.
“Preparation has gone well and we’ve had a good build up so far,” Lancaster said.
“The guys who played against Wales and Italy did really well and the good thing is that others, who are now fit and training, are pushing hard for selection.
“We’ve had to make some tough decisions, but it’s a good position to be in and those players going back to their clubs have another big weekend ahead to lay down a marker for later in the tournament.
“Chris Pennell is in camp for the first time since last summer so we are taking this opportunity for him to spend some additional time with us.”
Bath Rugby tighthead prop Henry Thomas will also join the squad for training on Wednesday after Newcastle Falcons prop Kieran Brookes picked up a hip flexor strain.
Lancaster will name his team to face Ireland on Friday before the squad flies to Dublin.
Forwards (14): Dave Attwood (Bath Rugby), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers), Nick Easter (Harlequins), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), James Haskell (Wasps), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins, captain), Henry Thomas (Bath Rugby), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Backs (12): Mike Brown (Harlequins), Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints), Danny Cipriani (Sale Sharks), George Ford (Bath Rugby), Alex Goode (Saracens), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Chris Pennell (Worcester Warriors), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Brad Barritt (Saracens), Danny Care (Harlequins), Calum Clark (Northampton Saints), Alex Corbisiero (Northampton Saints), Kyle Eastmond (Bath Rugby), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Geoff Parling (Leicester Tigers), Rob Webber (Bath Rugby), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints).
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