Eddie Jones has been accused by Premiership Rugby of placing player welfare at risk after staging a full-bore training camp that has resulted in his England regime being criticised for the first time.
An intense session in Brighton on Tuesday has seen Anthony Watson added to a growing list of players who will miss the entire autumn series after the Bath wing broke his jaw during a collision.
On the same day it emerged that Wasps flanker Sam Jones faced months out after fracturing his right leg during a judo session held 24 hours earlier, while Mike Brown and Joe Marler of Harlequins and Saracens’ George Kruis have been unable to train since.
Kruis’ director of rugby Mark McCall views the timing of the three-day camp on the south coast as “flabbergasting” and “madness” due to its proximity to the opening round of European rugby, in which the double winners face Toulon on Saturday week.
The main object of McCall’s anger is Premiership Rugby, who he suggests needs to be “careful chasing all this money at the expense of the clubs” in reference to the PS225million ($A374 million) deal recently agreed between Twickenham and the domestic league that enshrined the unsatisfactory date for the camp.
Premiership Rugby, however, insists the intensity of the training that was signposted by head coach Jones on Friday as a “test of resolve” designed to make players feel “uncomfortable” is not in keeping with their interpretation of the agreement.
“In the interests of player welfare, Premiership Rugby believes that England should not be doing full training sessions straight after a Premiership weekend,” a statement read.
“This format was not anticipated and we would not expect full training sessions to occur during the two remaining two-day England camps planned this season.”
The Rugby Football Union insists the content of the practise sessions was in keeping with the terms of the arrangement.
Jones’ methods are being scrutinised following his decision to put his 37-man squad through a gruelling session the day after they had practised judo while overseen by British coaches JP Bell and Kate Howie.
Australian Jones is a notoriously demanding taskmaster and McCall hinted at his displeasure over the workload given to Kruis, who has been troubled by a back problem that the second row is still managing.