Premiership Rugby accuse Eddie Jones of risking welfare of England players

Anthony Watson and Sam Jones suffered a broken jaw and fractured leg respectively 

Jack Austin
Friday 07 October 2016 12:20

Eddie JonesEngland training camp regime has been labelled as “madness” as he is accused of risking the welfare of his players by Premiership Rugby, during in the lead up to the autumn internationals.

Winger Anthony Watson joined England’s growing injury list when he was effectively ruled out of the four test matches in November and December with a broken jaw causing him to return to his club Bath for treatment.

The news came after Wasps confirmed back-rower Sam Jones suffered a broken leg during a judo session with Maro Itoje.

Harlequins pair Mike Brown and Joe Marler and Saracens’ George Kruis have also been left unable to train since the intensive sessions.

A £200m deal between the RFU and Premiership Rugby gave England greater access to the clubs’ players but the leagues’ governing body criticised the intensity of the training, which Jones labelled as a “test of resolve” designed to make players feel “uncomfortable”.

A Premiership Rugby statement read: “In the interests of player welfare, Premiership Rugby believes that England should not be doing full training sessions straight after a Premiership weekend.

“This format was not anticipated and we would not expect full training sessions to occur during the two remaining two-day England camps planned this season.”

Anthony Watson suffered a broken jaw in the final training session

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall called the timing of the camp as “flabbergasting”, with their opening European Champions Cup tie against Toulon scheduled for October 15.

“George [Kruis] didn't train on Thursday because he's coming back from injury and we need to be sensible with him. It would have been wrong for him to train on Thursday," McCall said.

“We'd have preferred him to do one day with England and two days with us, but that didn't happen.”

“To have the camp 10 days before our first Champions Cup game was flabbergasting.

Eddie Jones watches his players in the judo session where Sam Jones broke his leg

“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.

“We would like to have been involved in the discussion. Not to be consulted about it at all seems to be strange.”

However, the RFU defended Jones’ training camp and insisted the Australian had done nothing wrong.

“The professional game agreement enables England players to attend training camps, which obviously involve rugby training,” an RFU spokeswoman said.

“As we approach the autumn series, game training has to take place. This has always been part of the plan and is fully in line with the agreement.”

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