Eddie Jones’s all-or-nothing regime is designed to weed out England players who are not where they should be physically. Training is deliberately full-on, with 11 successive wins under Jones this year testimony to a more ruthless collective mindset. Even individuals recently sidelined by injury are expected to keep up or risk getting overtaken.
Alex Goode, full-back, 6/10 This was his chance to lay down a marker for the No15 shirt but had few chances to show his counter-attacking skills.
Injuries are an occupational hazard but if England prove as elusive with ball in hand as they have been with their recent fitness updates they will defeat Fiji comfortably on Saturday.
England are set to reshuffle their backline for the autumn international against Fiji on Saturday with Semesa Rokoduguni, Alex Goode and Jonathan Joseph all pressing for more prominent roles.
Back at the start of the month, South Africa’s head coach, Allister Coetzee, was asked about the “aura” of his side.
Imagine if this had been the opening game of a World Cup, rather than the first weekend of the 2016 autumn series. A year ago England were hopeful but slightly uncertain of their best way forward.
Aside from the first pictures of Donald Trump inside the White House there was no disputing the week’s most terrifying image.
Eddie Jones does a good fireside yarn and he was on cracking form when looking forward to England’s opening game of this autumn’s series.
England are poised to restore Northampton’s Tom Wood to their back row against South Africa but have dropped Alex Goode and Semesa Rokoduguni from the squad to face the Springboks. The uncapped Nathan Hughes, Ben Te’o, Kyle Sinckler and Josh Beaumont have made the cut, with at least three set to be on the replacements’ bench at Twickenham on Saturday.
With the Six Nations Championship just a month away England are in danger of kicking off the tournament lacking more than half their starting pack.
Arsenal fan Pers Morgan and rugby legend Will Carling were treading the Tweet last night as Manchester United beat Olympiakos.
With there less than a year to go before the World Cup, 2003 winner Neil Back fears England have too many selection issues to address.
This is supposed to be the season of wise men but rugby union, just at the moment, has lost its marbles. How else to explain the decision not to issue any sanction against anyone connected with George North’s recent botched head‑injury saga?
George North will not feature for Northampton in the Premiership match against Sale at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday.
Rugby has always been a game of sliding doors. What if Dylan Hartley had started for Northampton in the Champions’ Cup game against Leinster last Friday night, rather than steaming in off the bench with a point to prove?
Northampton are set to discover whether they will face further action over the George North concussion saga.