England’s preparations for the World Cup have started and they have shared footage on Instagram of the squad training at Pennyhill.
Eddie Jones’ initial training squad for the 2019 finals in Japan assembled on Sunday. While it is yet to contain players from Saracens, Exeter Chiefs, Gloucester or Northampton Saints, the Gallagher Premiership’s four semi-final teams, the RFU’s footage illustrated how some other players are faring on their return from injury.
Anthony Watson, who hasn’t featured for England since their March 2018 defeat to Ireland at Twickenham, exhibited how well he is now moving following his recent end-of-season club return to action with Bath following his lengthy injury lay-off.
Ben Youngs is another player noticeably on show in another clip, clearly demonstrating he has recovered from shoulder surgery in April and is fit to train
England have already faced a snag in their preparations with winger Chris Ashton pulling out of the 28-man squad that was announced last Thursday. Ashton explained: “Pulling on the white shirt is always special and I’m grateful to Eddie for giving me the opportunity to have done so again.
“My wife, Melissa, is pregnant with our second child and I don’t feel it is right for me to commit to being away in camp at this stage.”
While Ashton has stayed away, the other 27 players have been busy judging by the RFU’s social media footage:
England are playing catch-up to their rivals Wales, who started their training camp last week. The English domestic season finished later than it did for the Welsh teams in the Guinness PRO14.
Jones will still have plenty of time to assess his players before he announces his official training squad at the beginning of July.
With the World Cup starting in September in Japan, there is still plenty of time to go, with internationals against Wales, home and away, Ireland and Italy looming.
WATCH: Part one of the two-part RugbyPass documentary on what fans can expect in Japan at this year’s World Cup
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