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6 Nations

Why Cipriani wasn’t called up

Eddie Jones explained the decision.

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Written by Stuart Fitch
Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

England coach Eddie Jones has explained his decision not to call-up Danny Cipriani stating the Gloucester flyhalf was simply not needed.

Speaking ahead of the opening encounter against Ireland in Dublin, Jones reiterated his desire to stick with Owen Farrell who is currently recovering from a minor operation on his thumb.

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Farrell will captain his country in this years competition in the absence of Dylan Hartley but faces a race against time to be fit for the opening match on February 2nd.

“We are well stocked at number 10,” Jones told reporters at the Six Nations launch in London today.

“I’m confident Owen is going to play. We have got George Ford so we are well-stocked at number 10.”

Farrell, who was sitting beside Jones at the conference, also felt confident he will be in the starting line up as he looks to get the campaign off to a winning start.

“It is good. I should be training towards the end of this week and I am confident I will be able to play against Ireland.”

Despite this years World Cup at the back of the minds of players and coaches, Jones remains fully focused on the job ahead as he looks to lead England to a Six Nations triumph for the third time in four years.

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“Ireland is our number one priority,” said Jones, when asked about the World Cup at the end of the year.

“In November we were down to our sixth choice loosehead prop.”

“If we were to train, we would have 34 out of 36 available so a couple of them will be missing.”

“The only thing we can do is prepare well, be 100 percent committed, and we will take it from there,”

“Whether it is the biggest game of the tournament or not, it doesn’t really matter. Our job is to prepare well.”

The squad will fly out to Portugal today to begin their preparations against the defending champions.

6 Nations

Six Nations and Premiership Could Lock Horns

The prospect of further complications in the Six Nations due to the Coronavirus could cause a backlash from Premiership clubs

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(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Premiership clubs could lock horns with the Six Nations as they may recall players due to the uncertainty surrounding the tournaments conclusion due to the Coronavirus.

Six Nations officials will be at the World Rugby meeting that is set to take place on Monday, with the threat of the Coronavirus to the championship among the topics to be discussed. 

As of the time of writing only one game has been officially postponed with Ireland’s clash with Italy next weekend being called-off due to the threat of the spreading of the virus. 

However, there have already been discussions surrounding England’s trip to Rome to face the Italians a week later with the game appearing another likely casualty with Italian Rugby already cancelling all PRO14, national championship and youth games for this weekend, with further disruption anticipated. 

With that in mind, Premiership clubs could ask for their players to be released from international duty as the uncertainty over the rescheduled dates hanging over the Six Nations. 

The clubs have an agreement with the England set-up whereby players can be released for international duty during out of window periods, however, there is no such agreement with other nations. 

Meaning the likes of Italy, Wales and Scotland could be forced into releasing players back to their clubs. 

There are a number of key men involved in those nations that play in the Premiership, but with Italy the most likely to be in unclear waters over when their fixtures will be played the likes of star man Jake Polledri could be asked to remain with Gloucester should they have a game around the time of the rescheduled Six Nations games. 

It appears unlikely with the congested fixtures pile-up for several clubs in the final months of the season making rescheduled Six Nations games more likely to be played in the Summer or Autumn meaning they wouldn’t disrupt the club calendar. 

Although it is all in the air at the moment and it could cause a massive headache for the Six Nations depending on the timing of their rescheduled games.

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6 Nations

Further Six Nations Disruption Likely

Following the call to postpone all Ireland vs Italy games next weekend due to the Coronavirus it now appears that further disruption to the tournament may occur

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

It appears likely that further disruption to this year’s Six Nations calendar will occur with England’s clash with Italy now under threat due to the Coronavirus.

Yesterday, the IRFU confirmed that their men’s, women’s and U20’s games against the Italians that were scheduled for next weekend have been called off due to fears of spreading the virus. 

Following the IRFU’s statement the Six Nations released a statement of their own recognising that they would try to reschedule the game, but insisting that all further games will go ahead as planned. 

“Six Nations notes the formal instruction provided to the IRFU by the Irish National Public Health Emergency team, which states that the upcoming series of championship matches between Ireland and Italy over the weekend of 6/8 March should not proceed. We are fully supportive of any preventative measures taken in the interests of overall public health in relation to the coronavirus and we will respect instructions provided by government authorities and health organisations. Six Nations also continues to liaise with its medical advisory group. We will be holding further discussions with all six Unions with respect to the rescheduling options for all the affected games, factoring in the current dynamic situation. All other matches are currently scheduled to go ahead as normal. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely with all unions and the respective government authorities and health organisations,” the statement read. 

However, it has now been confirmed that the English government held talks with the Rugby Football Union last night to discuss the possibilities surrounding England’s clash with the Italians in Rome on March 14th. 

As of the time of writing Rome is not one of the regions to have reported a case of the virus within Italy, but caution will be taken and it would seem likely that unless a solution to cure the virus is found soon then England will follow Ireland’s lead and postpone their game with the Azzurri. 

Currently the other games will go ahead, but with the virus spreading quickly in recent days there appears a real threat that further disruption to the championship schedule will follow.

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6 Nations

Ireland vs Italy Games Called Off

The IRFU have confirmed that all three Ireland vs Italy games scheduled to take place on the first week of March have been called off

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The IRFU have announced that Ireland’s men’s, women’s and U20’s Six Nations games with Italy have been called off due to the Coronavirius outbreak across Italy.

The matches that were set to take place on the weekend of March 6th to March 8th will now attempt to be rescheduled in a hope that each team can finish their respective competition playing all of their games. 

In a statement made by the IRFU they explained that after meeting minister Simon Harris today that the call has been made to call off all the games in the interest of the public. 

“The IRFU had a positive meeting with Minister Harris and his advisors today, where we requested a formal instruction as to the staging of the Ireland v Italy international matches over the weekend of 6/8 March. At the outset we made it clear that the IRFU was supportive of the Governments’ need to protect public health in relation to the Coronavirus. We were then advised, formally, that The National Public Health Emergency team has determined that the series of matches should not proceed, in the interests of Public Health. The IRFU is happy to comply with this instruction. We will immediately begin to work with our Six Nations partners to look at the possibility of rescheduling the matches and would hope to have an update on this in the coming days,” the statement read. 

It remains to be seen whether or not the games can be rescheduled with such a tight schedule over the coming months with club fixtures as well as other international matches over the summer months. 

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