jones:-no-concerns-over-wider-covid-19-outbreak

Jones: No concerns over wider Covid-19 outbreak

Eddie Jones: “We just treat it as normal now. Every day’s an adventure and we’re on a bit of a rollercoaster at the moment. It’s not going to go away. It keeps coming and I think every time we have a case, we deal with it better, both emotionally and operationally”

Last Updated: 12/11/21 2:09pm

    England head coach Eddie Jones says the Covid situation being experienced by his side is sustainable in elite sport

    England head coach Eddie Jones says the Covid situation being experienced by his side is sustainable in elite sport

    England head coach Eddie Jones has said he is not concerned by the threat of a potential wider Covid-19 outbreak, after three positive test results in camp over the last week. 

    England skipper Owen Farrell was forced to pull out of last week’s Test against Tonga after returning a positive Covid-19 result, though this was later found to be a false positive.

    Earlier this week, loosehead prop Joe Marler tested positive, and then on Friday morning, news came through that fellow loosehead Ellis Genge – named originally to start vs Australia on Saturday – returned a positive result and was thus ruled out.

    It means that Sale prop Bevan Rodd, who was only called into camp this week, will start at Twickenham against the Wallabies for his Test debut, while Newcastle’s Trevor Davison comes into the squad on the bench.

    “We just treat it as normal now. Every day’s an adventure and we’re on a bit of a rollercoaster at the moment,” Jones said on Friday.

    Friday brought news that loosehead Ellis Genge was forced to pull out of Saturday's Test vs Australia due to Covid

    Friday brought news that loosehead Ellis Genge was forced to pull out of Saturday’s Test vs Australia due to Covid

    “Covid keeps coming and we just accept it and get on with it. It’s a great opportunity for a young guy like Bevan Rodd, to play his first Test at Twickenham against one of our arch enemies in Australia, so we’ve got the greatest confidence in him.

    “Trevor has been in our squad since the the summer now, and deserves the opportunity off the bench.

    “So while we’re disappointed for Ellis, as he’s such an important part of our team, it’s a great opportunity for the squad to step up and those two young players to step up.”

    When asked if such a situation was sustainable in elite sport heading into the winter, Jones was confident there should be no concern.

    “100 per cent (it is sustainable). I think the government, the NHS, Public Health, our medical staff and I’m sure medical staff from all around professional teams, are coping with the problem well.

    “It’s not going to go away. It keeps coming and I think every time we have a case, we deal with it better, both emotionally and operationally.

    Jones' England squad have returned three positive Covid-19 results in a week

    Jones’ England squad have returned three positive Covid-19 results in a week

    “It’s just a fact of life at the moment. You’ve only got to watch the news every morning and see the number of cases every day in the UK.

    “It’s out there, and we’re doing everything we can to safeguard the team against it, and to try and apply some common sense.

    “We’ve had two positive cases since Covid began, which is a pretty good strike rate in nearly two years.”

    Missing Saturday’s clash is a deflating setback for Genge, who for the first time this autumn has established himself as England’s primary loosehead after years of fierce competition with Marler and Mako Vunipola.

    Adding to his distress is that the 10-day isolation period means he will also miss the climax to the series and World Cup final rematch against South Africa next Saturday.

    “Ellis is enormously disappointed. He’s not sick at all, which is obviously the frustrating thing for him,” Jones said.

    “He’s vice captain of this team, loves playing against Australia and loves the challenge of playing at Twickenham.

    Uncapped prop Bevan Rodd will now start for England vs the Wallabies, with Genge and Joe Marler out

    Uncapped prop Bevan Rodd will now start for England vs the Wallabies, with Genge and Joe Marler out

    “He will rebound. Everyone has mixed emotions. I was watching the players come through this morning. Some are disappointed for Ellis, others are angry and others just want to get on with it.

    “We had a short team meeting. Owen Farrell and the senior players spoke really well, we got everyone back on to the same page and just got on with it. It’s a chance to show what strength we have as a team.”

    Into the breach created by Genge’s misfortune is a 21-year-old who was on Scotland’s radar but is now about to be captured by England.

    “I’ve watched Bevan closely for the last 12 months. He’s a fantastic defensive player, a very good chop tackler and a strong scrummager,” Jones added.

    “The response the team gave him when he was announced as a starting member was quite emotional.”