The Northampton Saints scrum half has started every game for England so far this Six Nations and scored in their opening fixture against Italy. 

With Alex Mitchell ruled out of the Six Nations due to a knee injury, who could replace him at nine for England? 

Sadly for Mitchell and England, he strained his anterior cruciate ligament during the open training session on Friday, ruling him out of the remainder of the competition. 

Related: “It had been a bit of a roller coaster for me; says livewire England nine Alex Mitchell about making the Test jersey his

The obvious candidate to step up is Danny Care, who has replaced Mitchell off the bench in each game of the tournament.

The Harlequins scrum half has been in scintillating form for his club and offers a wealth of experience thanks to his 98 caps. 

The 37-year-old is excellent at raising the tempo of a game and knows what it takes to win a Six Nations, having won championships in 2011, 2016 and 2017. 

Also included in Steve Borthwick’s initial squad was Ben Spencer, who has been integral to a rejuvenated Bath side which is pushing for the play-offs

Despite impressing at club level, the former Saracens’ player has only been capped four times, but given his experience as a travelling reserve for the first two games is likely to step up to the bench. 

After initially missing out on the squad, Bristol Bears’ Harry Randall was called up from the A-team squad to face Portugal to replace the injured Mitchell. 

Aged 26, Randall has six international appearances but last played nine for England in 2022 when they lost 52-21 against the Barbarians. 

However, he boasts Six Nations experience, having played a part in four of England’s games in the 2022 edition of the tournament under Eddie Jones.

Last week Randall was announced in George Skivington’s group to face the Lobos, but his call-up leaves just Caolan Englefield as a scrum-half option for the game at Welford Road on Sunday. 

Englefield is unlikely to be called up to the senior team, but should there be another injury at nine for England he could find himself parachuted into the mix.

Currently at ninth-placed Premiership side Gloucester, Englefield joined from London Irish when the club went into administration. 

The 24-year-old recently helped his team to the Premiership Rugby Cup final, setting up Max Llewellyn with an excellent pass for their second try in the semi-final triumph over Exeter last weekend. 

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