England will have to do without the services of new coach Jason Ryles, who has pulled out of moving to the UK over concerns around Covid-19.
Newly-appointed skills coach Ryles had joined up with the team after finishing the 2020 season and winning the NRL Grand Final with Melbourne Storm, where he was assistant coach.
An RFU statement reads: “Due to the current COVID-19 lockdown, coach Jason Ryles and his family have chosen not to re-locate to England this month as they had originally planned.
“It is hoped Jason will rejoin the coaching team for England’s summer fixtures.
“England begin preparations for the 2021 Guinness Six Nations next week, when they meet at St. George’s Park.
“They will then move to their base, The Lensbury in Teddington, ahead of their opening fixture against Scotland at Twickenham Stadium (Saturday 6 February, 4.45pm KO).”
Ryles had been assistant coach of Melbourne since 2016 and helped them to Premiership success in 2017, two other grand final appearances as well as last season’s Minor Premiership. He was also assistant coach for the Junior Kangaroos in 2016 and 2017 and the New South Wales U20s State of Origin side in 2012. He has briefly spent time in recent seasons with England assisting Jones and his coaches.
The 42 year-old made his playing debut in 2000 for St George Illawarra Dragons before moving to the French super league side, Catalans Dragons, for two years. He returned to Australia in 2010 to play for Sydney Roosters and then the Storm in 2012. He played 15 times for the Kangaroos and represented NSW eight times in State of Origin.
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