All 34 players who trained with England in the Algarve last week have regathered in Bagshot in preparation for Saturday’s opening Test of the Old Mutual Wealth Series. The fitness of Courtney Lawes to face South Africa remains uncertain but Eddie Jones has a range of other options to consider.
In a week where the Chicago Cubs finally put the curse of the Billy Goat to bed, there was no shortage of people here who thought Ireland were about to do something similar with the monkey on their back.
The last time England’s rugby players came out to Portugal to prepare for a big game against South Africa was in 2007 during the brief reign as head coach of Brian Ashton.
Owen Farrell is in a striking mood today. It is almost surprising to compare how relaxed and amiable he appears in contrast to the intense and often fiery man who plays for Saracens and England.
The first game of the Five Nations rugby championship in 1995 was not a happy one for Ireland.
Sometimes it is less the number of games a sportsman plays than the heart and soul he pours into the jersey he wears.
England’s injury crisis has deepened after Mike Williams became the fourth flanker to be ruled out of the entire autumn series.
Eddie Jones expects England to provide at least 15 players in the British and Irish Lions’ squad – almost half the touring party to New Zealand next year – and will regard it as a personal failure if that target is not reached. But the Australian also warned his players that unless they maintained the required standard for England and avoid letting the Lions tour to the home of the world champions become a distraction they risk missing out altogether on Warren Gatland’s selection.
It has been a long time coming but the new heads of agreement between the RFU and Premier Rugby is set to be announced by the end of this month and Eddie Jones says he is “completely satisfied” with the deal.
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.
Never anger a Scot, because you will have to face their wrath.
English rugby has over the years developed a reputation for a Roundhead attitude, but it is the round ball that is inspiring Eddie Jones as the national team’s head coach looks to build on this year’s grand slam success and oversee a fundamental change in playing style.
Fiji-born Samu Kerevi and former rugby league player Karmichael Hunt are a chance to make their Test debuts after being included in the Wallabies’ training squad for a three-Test series against England in June.
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?
Last month Stuart Lancaster took a night off from the stress of coaching England and went to the cinema.
The sheer scale of the Six Nations, says Eddie Jones, is just beginning to dawn on him.
One more rose-tinted victory against Australia on Saturday will make this, statistically, the most impressive calendar year in English rugby history.
Eddie Jones has warned England’s record‑equalling players they will be summarily dropped if they allow their standards to slip next year.
Eddie Jones has ruled out any prospect of him coaching the British & Irish Lions next year, despite having guided England to an unprecedented series win over the Wallabies.