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England suffer major blow as Ellis Genge tests positive for Covid

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by PA)

Ellis Genge has become the second England loosehead to test positive for Covid this week and has been ruled out of Saturday’s Autumn Nations Series match versus Australia at Twickenham. Joe Marler, who came on as a replacement for Genge in last weekend’s win over Tonga, had tested positive at the start of this week for the virus and he immediately went into isolation. 

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With just Genge and Trevor Davison the only remaining two looseheads left available in the England squad at that time, Eddie Jones called up the uncapped Bevan Rodd and the 21-year-old Sale prop was named on the bench behind Genge on Thursday for Saturday’s match versus the Wallabies.

However, the England selection needed to be revisited when it emerged on Friday that Genge had tested positive and it has resulted in Rodd getting promoted to the starting loosehead role with the one-cap Davison coming onto the England bench.     

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An RFU statement read: “Ellis Genge has tested positive for Covid. Genge returned a positive PCR result on Friday morning from a test taken on Thursday morning. He immediately went into isolation.

“No other positive test results were received among players or staff. The group has undergone an additional round of LFT and PCR testing today [Friday]. The squad have trained this morning at Twickenham Stadium ahead of Saturday’s match.”

England’s issues with Covid began on Thursday of last week when a staff member tested positive, a development that resulted in an additional round of testing. This led to Owen Farrell returning a positive test and although this was later confirmed to be a false negative, that finding came too late for him to keep his place in the team that went on to beat Tonga.

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Whereas last week, England cut their squad down to 28 in the lead-up to the match versus the Tongans, they decided this week to retain all players in camp rather than release them back to their clubs as an extra precaution to guard against Covid. However, that safeguard wasn’t enough to prevent Genge from contracting the virus and his ten-day isolation period will also rule him out of next weekend’s match versus the Springboks.

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