England head coach Eddie Jones has revealed they are sweating on three players who might have to withdraw from the national training camp due to coronavirus concerns.
Jones named a much-changed 28-man squad comprising 12 uncapped players on Monday, including the likes of Saracens wing Ali Crossdale, Leicester prop Joe Heyes, Harlequins prop Simon Kerrod and Gloucester number eight Jack Clement.
He was already unable to select players not only from the Premiership’s top four sides due to the upcoming semi-finals, but also Sale and Worcester due to the rearranged clash following the Sharks’ 19 positive Covid cases.
But by Tuesday morning, England boss Jones was forced to concede that three further players could have to withdraw from the makeshift national squad.
Refusing to name the players under threat of withdrawing from the squad, Jones admitted England will continue to monitor the situation.
Asked how much the Sale situation could disrupt England, Jones said: “Well I really don’t know what’s happened, all I try to do is select the players that are available, so that’s all I’ve been worried about.
“We’re looking at three players today whether they will be available to be selected, we’ll find out this morning and then we’ll just wait and see.
“Look I think this is going to be the way it is at the moment.
“I just saw in the football England had three players unavailable this morning, they can’t go into Gareth Southgate’s camp.
“It’s a fact of life at the moment, that’s what we have to deal with, we can’t get too worried about it, we’re not too obsessed about it.
“We’ll just take the players that are available, and work with those players.”
1⃣2⃣ uncapped players in England's squad for a three-day camp.
See who head coach Eddie Jones has picked in his group of 2⃣8⃣. https://t.co/Nib8LoGBDA
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) October 5, 2020
England will start a packed schedule with the non-cap international clash against the Barbarians, before completing the delayed Six Nations and moving onto the new Autumn Nations Cup.
Jones would typically be without his frontline stars for the Barbarians game, given the standard clash with the Premiership final.
And the no-nonsense Australian boss admitted battling where possible to conduct business as usual, at least in coaching terms.
“Traditionally this camp’s always been about giving opportunities to young players and having chances to see new people,” said Jones.
“You get teams that aren’t in the Premiership semi-finals, so you get a smattering of young guys.
“It’s the same now, and so it’s a great opportunity for them to raise their hands, and see how far they can go with selection.”
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