England rugby: Top clubs angry over full on training camp

England players watch instructors
England have used British Olympians Kate Howey and JP Bell to teach players judo skills

Premiership Rugby has criticised England boss Eddie Jones' decision to hold a full-on three-day training camp between Premiership matches this week.

Flanker Sam Jones broke his leg while winger Anthony Watson broke his jaw.

Premiership Rugby, the body representing English top-flight clubs, said the format was "not anticipated".

"Premiership Rugby believes England should not be doing full training sessions straight after a Premiership weekend," a statement read.

"We would not expect full training sessions to occur during the two remaining two-day England camps planned this season."

Releasing England players for the camps is part of the new £225m agreement between the Rugby Football Union and the Premiership clubs, with the union insisting that the national team's training is "fully in line with the agreement".

"As we approach the autumn series, game training has to take place," said an RFU spokeswoman. "This has always been part of the plan and is fully in line with the agreement."

Jamie George and Maro Itoje
Jamie George and Maro Itoje will hope to be in England's autumn Tests squad when it is announced on 26 October

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said the timing of the camp was "flabbergasting" and "madness", with the double winners facing Toulon in the Champions Cup a week on Saturday.

McCall said lock George Kruis has not trained since returning to the club as he continues to recover from a back injury, while Harlequins' Joe Marler and Mike Brown have also not trained since the camp.

"From our club's point of view we thought that Premiership Rugby could have fought harder as to where these camps are situated in the calendar," said McCall.

"I understand England's needs, but it seems madness. Everyone goes on about player welfare yet our international players have had a tough Monday and Tuesday and we are playing on Sunday."

Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston told BBC Radio 5 live that Brown and Marler returned on Thursday carrying niggles, although he expects them to play this weekend, and added he had no issues with the intensity of training at the international get together.

England will 'carry on' using judo

Wasps flanker Jones, 24, suffered his broken leg while grappling with lock Maro Itoje during a session based around judo skills.

However, two-time Olympic judo medallist Kate Howey, one of the coaches used by England, expects head coach Jones to continue using the sport in training.

"Eddie is looking for every bit of advantage within the game," Howey told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I think it will carry on because there is a massive crossover in what we do and what players do on the pitch."

Howey, who won Olympic bronze in 1992 and silver eight years later, added that Jones was injured in what appeared to be an "innocuous" incident and that he "fell awkwardly".

England begin their autumn internationals at Twickenham on 12 November against South Africa, with Tests against Fiji, Argentina and Australia to follow, while Jones will name his squad on 26 October.


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