After a few mini camps and one aborted warm-up fixture against the Barbarians, Eddie Jones will this morning name his squad for England’s final match of the Six Nations on Saturday against Italy and for the following four matches in the Autumn Nations Cup.
Jones, of course, had hoped to observe how some of his England players had progressed on Sunday against the Barbarians, before the game was called off following the invitational side’s Covid-19 bubble breach.
That has left England with no preparation for their Six Nations finale against Italy, a game they go into with a strong chance of being able to win the title for the first time since 2017 despite trailing Ireland in the table currently by a point.
Here’s what Jones had to say last week about the tackle technique of his captain Owen Farrell, who is short on game time.
“Owen’s always working on his tackle technique,” head coach Jones said.
“I went to the gym this (Tuesday) morning and I was walking through before we were going to catch up and he was there doing some extra work with (head of strength and conditioning) Jon Clarke.
“That’s a constant work-on for not only Owen, but a lot of our players. The laws of the high tackle have become increasingly tighter, which is for the welfare of the players and all of our players are conscious of their responsibility.
“Owen and I have ongoing conversations. There’s not a day where we don’t talk, or text each other. And now he’s in camp, it’s face-to-face.
“He’s aware of his responsibilities as England captain – he made a mistake in a game, we’ve moved on from that and now his job’s to be the best England captain he can be. That’s what he’s striving to do.”
Farrell has not played since picking up a five-game ban for a dangerous tackle following his red card against Wasps playing for Saracens. The Barbarians game, therefore, would have been ideal preparation. Yet here we are.