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England call up back row as Courtney Lawes ruled out of training camp

By Ian Cameron
Referee James Doleman talks with Jonny Hill and Courtney Lawes of England during game one of the international test match series between the Australian Wallabies and England at Optus Stadium on July 02, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

England are being forced to call up London Irish back row Tom Pearson after they revealed that captain Courtney Lawes will not be joining the Jersey training camp.

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Lawes continues to recover from a concussion and will stay in Northampton as he goes through the return-to-play protocols. Lawes suffered the concussion playing for his Saints in September.

An RFU statement reads: “Courtney Lawes will not join up with the England squad for their training camp in Jersey next week, while he continues to work through his graduated return to play protocols.

“London Irish’s Tom Pearson has been called-up and will meet up with the squad on Monday for the five-day camp.”

“Eddie Jones’ side will continue preparations for their four home Autumn Nations Series fixtures while in Jersey.”

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If he doesn’t recover in time, it is likely Owen Farrell will be named as skipper for the Autumn Nations Series.

England face Argentina at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday 6 November, before hosting Japan on Saturday 12 November and then the All Blacks on 19 November. Finally they face world champions South Africa on Saturday, 26 November.

The 6’3, 114kg Pearson was a Cardiff Metropolitan University graduate. He joined the Senior Academy at London Irish following his time with the BUCS side, making 28 appearances in the university Super Rugby league.

Pearson also appeared 14 times in the Welsh Championship during his time in Cardiff and was awarded a place in the BUCS Super Rugby Team of the Season 2019/20.

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Pearson made his debut in an England training squad during the 2022 Six Nations period alongside fellow Exiles Ollie Hassell-Collins and Will Goodrick-Clarke.

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Poorfour 5 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

AI models are really just larger and less transparent variants of the statistical models that have been in use since Moneyball was invented. And a big difference between the Icahn centre’s results and AI today is that ChatGPT-like Large Language Models can explain (to some degree) how they reached their conclusions. In terms of what impact they will have, I suspect it will have two primary impacts: 1) It will place a premium on coaching creativity 2) It will lead to more selections that baffle fans and pundits. Analysts will be able to run the models both ways: they will see their own team’s and players’ weaknesses and strengths as well as the opposition’s. So they will have a good idea at what the other team will be targeting and the decisive difference may well be which coaches are smart enough to think of a gameplan that the other side didn’t identify and prepare for. For players, it places a premium on three key things: 1) Having a relatively complete game with no major weaknesses (or the dedication to work on eliminating them) 2) Having the tactical flexibility to play a different game every week 3) Having a point of difference that is so compelling that there isn’t a defence for it. (3) is relatively rare even among pro players. There have been only a handful of players over the years where you knew what they were going to do and the problem was stopping it - Lomu would be the classic example. And even when someone does have that, it’s hard to sustain. Billy Vunipola in his prime was very hard to stop, but fell away quite badly when the toll on his body began to accumulate. So coaches will look for (1) - a lack of exploitable weaknesses - and (2) - the ability to exploit others’ weaknesses - ahead of hoping for (3), at least for the majority of the pack. Which is likely to mean that, as with the original Moneyball, competent, unshowy players who do the stuff that wins matches will win out over outrageous talents who can’t adapt to cover their own weaknesses. Which will leave a lot of people on the sidelines sputtering over the non-inclusion of players whose highlights reels are spectacular, but whose lowlight reels have been uncovered by AI… at least until the point where every fan has access to a sporting analysis AI.

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