London - Eddie Jones has fanned the flames of a club versus
country row by telling Bruce Craig that the Bath owner has no business
criticising his England training regime.
Ben Te'o became the latest player to be injured while with
the England squad after the Rugby Football Union announced on Wednesday that
the Worcester centre had been ruled out of next month's three-Test tour of
The player aggravated a thigh problem he first suffered
during the Six Nations Championship when taking part in a weights session last
That took the total number of players injured in camps since
Jones took over as England coach after the 2015 World Cup to 15, with five of
those coming from Bath.
Beno Obano, the Bath loosehead prop, could be out for up to
a year after rupturing ligaments and muscles in his knee and hamstring a
fortnight ago during an England training camp in Brighton.
Even more seriously, Wasps flanker Sam Jones had to retire
aged just 26 earlier this year after suffering an ankle injury wrestling Maro
Itoje during a judo session at a training camp in October 2016.
The RFU could yet face legal action from Jones, who did not
receive the full safety briefing and was sent to hospital in a taxi.
Craig said the number of injuries sustained by players while
with England is "totally unacceptable", insisting "there has got
to be significant questions asked about duty of care", and adding
"what is going on in the camp?".
But Jones, a former head coach of both his native Australia
and Japan, insisted he had no qualms about the methods he employed to get
players ready for the often brutal rigours of international rugby union.
"I don't have any concerns. We train appropriately for
Test match rugby," Jones told Sky Sports.
"The only reason I'd alter it is if we need to train
harder, or we need to train lighter, to be at our best for Test matches.
"We prepare players for Test matches. I don't think
anyone at a club has the right to tell a coach how to train a Test team."
Jones also told BBC Radio: "I haven't seen any figures
to suggest the number of injuries are unacceptable.
"No-one on our staff has suggested they are, but Bruce
is obviously an expert in training-ground injuries, so I'll have to be
subservient to his greater knowledge," the Australian added sarcastically.
Te'o, who was in line to start at outside centre in the
series opener against the Springboks at Johannesburg's Ellis Park on June 9, is
now facing surgery but should be fit for the start of the 2018/19 European
"Benny was tight after a weights session - during the
weights session when he was doing a lift he felt some tightness about his
knee," Jones said.
"He was scanned and it showed he had an old tear from
the Six Nations game against France, and therefore it was too big a risk to
take him on tour."
Meanwhile, there are concerns over Billy Vunipola's fitness,
with the return of the No 8 from a fractured arm followed by persistent
Vunipola was on the field for nearly an hour of Saracens'
victory over Exeter in the English Premiership final at Twickenham last weekend
but the powerhouse loose forward could still miss the first Test against South
"We still have a concern over his hamstring and how fit
he is going to be," Jones said.
"We have gone through a long period without Billy and
while he's a great player we have been able to cope without him."
"We want him back in the side, but if he's not we will
work out another way to play."
England finished a hugely disappointing fifth in this
season's Six Nations, after back-to-back titles, and are now on a run of four
straight defeats following a 63-45 loss to the Barbarians in a non-cap
international match at Twickenham on Sunday.