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The three fixable factors behind Eddie Jones' England stagnation

Eddie Jones' England weren't far away from making the grade.

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Ireland the latest team to suffer eve-of-match Covid disruption

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by PA)

Ireland preparations ahead of Saturday’s Autumn Nations Series meeting with the All Blacks in Dublin have been disrupted by the need for additional testing after an unnamed player tested positive for Covid on the eve of the sold-out match in Dublin.

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Andy Farrell named a team on Thursday that contained just a single change from the XV that comprehensively defeated Japan in last Saturday’s series opener, Iain Henderson replacing the benched Tadhg Beirne as the starting lock alongside James Ryan.  

However, Farrell has now been plunged into a waiting game ahead of facing the All Blacks after the Irish bubble was seemingly breached by Covid. A Friday lunchtime statement from the IRFU read: “A potential positive case has been identified in one person via the latest PCR testing carried out on the Ireland squad. Additional testing is being undertaken to establish if this is a false positive.

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“The entire Ireland squad and management have undergone additional lateral flow and PCR testing today [Friday]. The lateral flow testing returned no positives and the PCR results are expected later today.

“Further updates will follow later. As a precaution, today’s planned captain’s run media briefing will be switched from in-person to virtual.”

The developing situation meant that Ireland became the latest team to suffer an eve-of-match disruption over Covid. It was last Friday when skipper Owen Farrell was pulled from the England team to face Tonga following a test result that was eventually proven to be a false positive. 

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Eddie Jones’ squad suffered another setback this Friday as a positive test for Ellie Genge ruled the vice-captain out from playing against the Wallabies and it has resulted in the promotion from the bench into the No1 jersey of Bevan Rodd, an uncapped 21-year-old who will be covered on the England bench by Trevor Davison, another rookie who has just a single cap to his credit. 

  

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