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FOCUS ON TEAM COHESION

Jones calls up 12 uncapped players for early England camp

“We have a three-day camp this week and another one next week. We’ll be slowly building up, working on the basics and working on team cohesion.”

In Summary

• An updated squad will be confirmed ahead of England’s next training camp from October 15-17.

• Meanwhile, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) will launch a probe into how Premiership club Sale Sharks returned 16 positive COVID-19 tests among their playing group on Saturday, British media reported.

England head coach Eddie Jones during a training session
England head coach Eddie Jones during a training session
Image: /REUTERS

England coach Eddie Jones, restricted in his options by the ongoing Premiership season, has included 12 uncapped players in an initial 28-man training squad to begin preparations for the delayed Six Nations game away to Italy on October 31.

England will also have a non-cap match against the Barbarians the week before, and later roll into the new Autumn Nations Cup tournament. The new squad will convene on Tuesday for a three-day training camp at a London hotel.

“Our preparation to build the team for the Italy game starts now,” Jones said in a statement.

“We have a three-day camp this week and another one next week. We’ll be slowly building up, working on the basics and working on team cohesion.”

Jones’ options have been limited by many players still being involved in the Premiership playoffs as well as European finals.    An updated squad will be confirmed ahead of England’s next training camp from October 15-17.

  After the Rome trip, where a win could secure the Six Nations title, England face Georgia, Ireland and Wales and then a “decider” against a team from the other Nations Cup pool.

Meanwhile, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) will launch a probe into how Premiership club Sale Sharks returned 16 positive COVID-19 tests among their playing group on Saturday, British media reported.

The outbreak prompted the Premiership to postpone Sale's final league match against Worcester Warriors to Wednesday while Gloucester Rugby's game with Northampton Saints was cancelled due to Saints players self-isolating after playing Sale.

"The Professional Game Board agreed a minimum standards framework for the season restart, including the ability for sanctions in the event of any breaches of the framework," the RFU said in a statement released to British media.

Bristol Bears Director of Rugby Pat Lam said he was surprised at the number of positive cases at Sale.

"The biggest shock is the number of cases. We can understand one or two, but 19 - something's gone wrong there," he was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

"The only way 19 happens is because of the behaviour within the group. Something massive has to have happened there. That doesn't just suddenly change."

Sale, who beat Harlequins 27-19 in their Premiership Rugby Cup final on Sept. 21, had not intentionally broken any rules, director of rugby Steve Diamond said. "... There's no breach of protocol done deliberately," he was quoted as saying by the Guardian.