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Harry Randall's alleged paddle-board injury puts focus on England

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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Eddie Jones’ training methods with England have again come in for scrutiny after it was alleged that Harry Randall was initially injured last week during a paddle-board exercise in the sea around the Channel Island of Jersey. As part of team bonding, the squad were split into groups for the water-based activity.   

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However, it has been reported by the Telegraph that the 23-year-old Bristol scrum-half allegedly injured his hip flexor during the exercise and having then been cleared by the England medical staff to take part in an on-pitch rugby session, the injury was aggravated. 

The damage ultimately resulted in Randell being omitted from the England squad that assembled at Pennyhill Park at the start of this week, the RFU stating on Sunday evening: “Harry Randall has withdrawn from the squad with a hip flexor injury.” 

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The injury, which has now ruled the half-back out of the games versus Tonga, Australia and South Africa, will apparently sideline Randall until 2022 and it was the second serious setback he encountered while on England duty this year.

Having been called into the squad for the Six Nations while still uncapped, Randall injured an ankle during training in the mid-February fallow week and it wasn’t the early April Champions Cup fixture at Bordeaux that he was available to play again for Bristol.   

Randall went on to earn his first two England Test caps with starts in the summer series versus the USA and Canada and he was expected to provide Ben Youngs with competition for the No9 jersey in the Autumn Nations Series. However, with another squad No9 Raffi Quirke nursing a knee knock, the uncapped Alex Mitchell has been called up to fill the Randall vacancy and is set to provide cover from the bench this Saturday versus Tonga. 

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Jones conducted Tuesday’s England media briefing and he was adamant there were no alarm bells ringing regarding the injury situation in his squad. “We have got two injuries, mate, out of 34 players so that would hardly classify as being alarm bell,” he insisted. 

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