Six Nations: Bath centre Jonathan Joseph returns to England squad

Jonathan Joseph playing for England
Jonathan Joseph's last England appearance came in the defeat by Ireland in the 2018 Six Nations
Six Nations 2019: Ireland v England
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday 2 February Kick-off: 16:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live, highlights on BBC

Centre Jonathan Joseph has been added to the England squad heading to Portugal on Wednesday to begin preparations for the Six Nations.

Joseph has not played for England since last year's Six Nations campaign.

But the 27-year-old returned for his club Bath at the weekend after a long-term ankle injury.

Brad Shields and Joe Launchbury have both been deemed fit enough to join up with the squad, despite side and neck issues respectively.

Meanwhile, England remain hopeful over the fitness of captain Owen Farrell, who is recovering from thumb surgery.

Head coach Eddie Jones has not called up another fly-half as precautionary cover for Farrell, with George Ford the only other number 10 in the 36-man group.

Speaking last week before his appearance for Bath, the England boss suggested Joseph would need some time to work his way back to international rugby.

"He's got some work to do, he hasn't played for a long time," Jones told BBC Sport.

"But we know he is a good player, and if he gets back fit and ready to go - the same with [injured full-back/wing] Anthony Watson - then we will look at them very carefully."

Jones' side start their campaign against champions Ireland on 2 February, and will fly straight to Dublin from the Algarve a week on Thursday.

England's 36-man squad for Ireland Test:

Forwards: Jack Clifford, Dan Cole, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Nathan Hughes, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Ben Moon, Brad Shields, Kyle Sinckler, Jack Singleton, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Harry Williams, Mark Wilson.

Backs: Chris Ashton, Mike Brown, Joe Cokanasiga, Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Dan Robson, Henry Slade, Ben Te'o, Ollie Thorley, Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs.

England's Six Nations fixtures
Saturday, 2 Februaryv Ireland (a)
Sunday, 10 Februaryv France (h)
Saturday, 23 Februaryv Wales (a)
Saturday, 9 Marchv Italy (h)
Saturday, 16 Marchv Scotland (h)

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