Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s live coverage of this evening’s autumn international between England and Australia at Twickenham.
Eddie Jones admits England are on board a Covid-19 rollercoaster, with Ellis Genge ruled out of today’s clash with the Wallabies after becoming the latest player to test positive.
A crisis has developed at loosehead prop after first-choice Genge, one of the team’s recently appointed vice-captains, followed bench option Joe Marler into self-isolation.
It means that Scottish-born Bevan Rodd will make his debut just three days after being called into camp as a replacement for Marler, with Trevor Davison – nominally a tighthead that can play both sides – providing cover on the bench.
For the second successive week, England’s eve-of-match preparations have been affected by coronavirus after Owen Farrell missed the 69-3 rout of Tonga because of a false-positive test.
“We just treat it as normal now. Every day is an adventure and we’re on bit of a rollercoaster at the moment. Covid keeps coming. We just accept it and get on with it,” Jones said.
“It’s just a fact of life at the moment. You just have to watch the BBC News in the morning and see the number of cases in the UK. It’s out there.
“We are doing everything we can to safeguard the team against it and to try and use some common sense. Since Covid we have had two positive cases in nearly two years so our strike rate is pretty good.”
Missing the Cook Cup clash is a deflating setback for Genge, who for the first time this autumn has established himself as England’s primary loosehead after years of fierce competition with Marler and Mako Vunipola.
Adding to his distress is that the 10-day isolation period means he will also miss the climax to the series and World Cup final rematch against South Africa next Saturday.
“Ellis is enormously disappointed. He’s not sick at all, which is obviously the frustrating thing for him,” Jones said.
“He will rebound. It would be an interesting isolation if he and Marler were together! Fortunately they are not because we might only end up with one coming out!
“Everyone has mixed emotions. I was watching the players come through this morning. Some are disappointed for Ellis, others are angry and others just want to get on with it.”