Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

England in Break with Tradition as Selection Delayed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

England in Break with Tradition as Selection Delayed

Article excerpt

ENGLAND have taken the highly unusual step of delaying their team announcement for tomorrow's clash with Fiji by 24 hours as they monitor the fitness of a trio of players.

In a break with established protocol, the starting XV and replacements bench will be named on the eve of the second autumn international at Twickenham as Billy Vunipola, Nathan Hughes and Elliot Daly battle to prove their availability.

Mystery shrouds the nature of their ailments, with England willing only to offer broad descriptions - Vunipola has 'upper body soreness', Hughes is struggling with a 'lower leg injury' and Daly has an 'upper body injury'.

However, Hughes and Daly were able to take an active role in training on yesterday's final session of the week.

Furthermore, Tom Wood has rejoined the squad to provide injury cover having been sent back to his club on Tuesday, although the Northampton captain is struggling with illness.

World Rugby has confirmed that England have not broken any regulations in the postponement, although from January a recentlyratified rule stating team announcements must be undertaken 48 hours before kick-off takes effect.

"We've had a really good week's preparation, albeit a few injury concerns which we're trying to sort out at the moment," head coach Eddie Jones said.

"We'll have those sorted out by tomorrow so we'll announce the team tomorrow, which is a deviation from our normal procedure but in line with the regulations of team announcements.

"So we're looking forward to the game and we're going to put on a really vibrant, aggressive display.

"Bill and Nathan are still carrying knocks from the South Africa game, Elliot Daly is still carrying knocks from the previous game so we're looking to see how they resolve themselves in the next 24 hours before we make a final decision.

"The South Africa game was a very tough game physically, so we are still carrying some knocks and bruises from that. We'll resolve that in the next 24 hours."

England are wrestling with uncertainty in the back row and on the left wing with the possible loss of Vunipola and Hughes leaving Jones' plans in tatters. …

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