London - England hope to have Courtney Lawes fit for their opening end-of-year
international against South Africa at Twickenham on Saturday.
The Northampton lock has been struggling with a knee injury and was a late withdrawal from the Saints' last two matches.
England are increasingly confident he will be able to resume his World
Cup second-row partnership with Joe Launchbury in the injury-enforced
absence of first-choice locks George Kruis and Maro Itoje.
has taken part in training this morning (Monday) and will take part in
training this afternoon so we expect him to be fit," said England
defence coach Paul Gustard.
Gustard added that England prop Mako
Vunipola, who had been struggling with a hip problem, was also in line
to be fully fit for this weekend's clash with the Springboks at
"Mako has been training too. We're in a good state of
health and ready to continue our preparations for South Africa," Gustard
England have won all nine of their Tests since Eddie Jones
replaced Stuart Lancaster as coach following the team's first-round exit
at last year's World Cup.
But they have not beaten South Africa since 2006, a run that includes 11 defeats and one draw.
Both England and South Africa are due to name their teams on Thursday.