England rugby: Eddie Jones says he will find replacements for players unvaccinated against COVID-19 | UK News

The head coach of the England rugby team, Eddie Jones, is adamant he’ll simply find replacements for any unvaccinated players that can’t travel to France or Italy in this year’s Six Nations tournament.

Without revealing how many of his squad remain unvaccinated, Jones told Sky News they have detailed contingency plans in place to deal with COVID-19 regulations.

Talking alongside England flanker Tom Curry at the tournament’s virtual launch event, Jones said: “I’m not a doctor, I don’t ask Tom, ‘show me your vaccination status’ – that’s not part of the selection criteria.

Image:
Eddie Jones will have to choose replacements for any unvaccinated players

“When we work out what you need to have to get into France and if there are players ineligible or staff ineligible, then we’ll find replacements.”

England start against Scotland at Murrayfield but travel to both Paris and Rome later in the tournament – current restrictions in France and Italy prevent unvaccinated players from entering public venues like rugby stadiums with no exemptions for players.

Jones added: “I don’t see it as a big deal, we’re certainly not treating it as a big deal. Our players who want to get vaccinated, are vaccinated, the players who don’t want to get vaccinated, aren it vaccinated.

“There’s no compulsion of the RFU or the England team management for the players to do anything that they don’t want to do.

“It’s their personal choice and we’re looking forward to going to France, that’s going to be a great game and everyone who is vaccinated will certainly be enjoying that experience.”

File photo dated 11/13/2021 of England's Owen Farrell, who will captain England during the Six Nations, the Rugby Football Union has announced.  Issue date: Tuesday January 18, 2022.
Image:
Owen Farrell is out of the tournament with injury

Players have tested positive

England prop forward Joe Marler has already tested positive and is a doubt for the opening fixture. Captain Owen Farrell has been ruled out of the whole tournament with an ankle injury.

Wales have recorded one positive COVID-19 case so far; forward Christ Tshiunza is now isolating after a PCR test confirmed a lateral flow positive result on the first day of their ​preparation camp.

A general view of a line out during the Guinness Six Nations match at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh.  PA Photo.  Picture date: Saturday February 8, 2020. See PA story RUGBYU Scotland.  Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire.  RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Image:
England will begin their Six Nations campaign against Scotland

Six Nations chief executive Ben Morel said they would look to rearrange any games disrupted by COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity: “What I’ve learned is that there is so much scenario planning you can do. You need to be ready for any kind or circumstances.

“What we will do is schedule any match at the soonest possible time. What that time is depends on many different circumstances. But hopefully everything will work as planned.”

Read more: No decision on whether Six Nations rugby matches can go ahead in Wales, Drakeford says

Former England prop Victor Ubogu, who now runs a travel firm leading large groups of rugby fans to Six Nations matches, told Sky News: “In terms of the players it is a very clear-cut rule, if you are not vaccinated you are not going to get into Italy, you are not going to get into France.

Subscribe to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

“Fans – you are not going to get into Italy, you are not going to get into France, so you have to get vaccinated if you want to go to those places. If you choose not to be vaccinated then it is a non-starter .”

“There is so much excitement, though, for this Six Nations… especially after being sort of locked up in the last 18, 20 months, people just want to get out there and start living again.”

The first round of games starts on February 5.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.