Scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet was replaced in the first half against Wales

There was a huge England injury scare at Twickenham as key scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet was helped from the field against Wales.

Leicester nine van Poortvliet picked up what appeared to be an ankle problem in an innocuous collision with team-mate Ollie Lawrence with less than ten minutes of the first half remaining. Van Poortvliet looked to have stepped on the foot of Lawrence while trying to get out of his way as the centre cut inside.

Read more: England Rugby World Cup squad – official 33-man group revealed

The 22-year-old had to be carried off the pitch on one foot by the England medical staff after sustaining the blow and now faces a possible race against time to be fit for England’s first World Cup match against Argentina in four weeks on September 9.

Van Poortvliet was one of three scrum-halves named in Steve Borthwick’s official 33-man England Rugby World Cup squad alongside the most-capped men’s international ever in Ben Youngs and fellow experienced operator Danny Care, 36.

It was Youngs who replaced van Poortvliet, winning his 123rd cap in the process. Borthwick may well have a selection headache to deal with now and was seen down on the pitchside giving instructions to Youngs before patting van Poortvliet on the stomach as he made his way straight down the tunnel to receive more treatment.

Related: List of full Rugby World Cup warm-ups

England fans and Borthwick will hope the damage is not too serious. England travel to Dublin next week to face Andy Farrell’s world No 1 side at the Aviva before finishing the Summer Series and their World Cup warm-ups at home against Fiji on 26 August at Twickenham.

If England need to call up a replacement for van Poortvliet then Northampton Saints’ Alex Mitchell appears to be the next in line after being included in the opening weeks of the World Cup camp. However, there are also plenty of admirers for the speedy Bristol Bears scrum-half Harry Randall and Borthwick could well spring another selection surprise after omitting regular centre Henry Slade from his original squad.

England were not the only side to suffer with injury at Twickenham as Wales hooker Dewi Lake endured a disappointing end to his captaincy debut as he trudged off the field in the 27th minute, Adam Beard – who you can hear from in our upcoming Rugby World Cup preview edition out on August 22, stepping into the leadership breach.

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