Dai Young: England and clubs must work together
Dai Young has called for a partnership of equals when the 12 Aviva Premiership directors of rugby meet England head coach Eddie Jones this week.
Thursday's gathering will be an opportunity for the clubs to air their grievances in the wake of the national team's three-day training camp in Brighton that led to two players being ruled out of the entire autumn series and a third likely to follow suit.
Sam Jones broke his right leg and suffered ankle damage during a judo session, injuries that Young confirmed after Wasps' 30-14 defeat at Saracens will rule the flanker out for five months.
Bath's Anthony Watson sustained a broken jaw during a full-bore training session on Tuesday, while his fellow wing Jack Nowell returned to Exeter with a clean bill of health only for the Chiefs to discover after a scan that he has a significant tear to his thigh muscle.
Rob Baxter is the latest Premiership boss to voice his dismay as tension grows between England, the clubs and their umbrella organisation Premiership Rugby.
"England seemed to have loaded (Nowell) more than we would have done," Baxter, Exeter's director of rugby, said.
"More disappointingly, he was sent back to us with a report that they couldn't find any significant damage.
"When we scanned him, he had a 9-10 centimetre tear in his quad which will put him out for weeks."
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall views the timing of the England camp in Brighton as "flabbergasting" and "madness", blaming Premiership Rugby (PRL) for not objecting to its place in the calendar.
Upping the ante considerably was the ensuing PRL statement that accused Jones of risking player welfare by staging such an intense session on the Tuesday after a weekend of league action.
Young is reeling at the loss of Sam Jones, who has been outstanding so far this season, for almost half the year in an absence that takes in the RBS 6 Nations.
"I don't think it's right to vent my frustration or disappointment about anything that went on through the media," Young said.
"But this cannot be England against the clubs. We cannot be against each other. We have to be together. There can't be a big brother in this relationship.
"They're not more important than us and we're not more important than them. We have to work together and that's the biggest message.
"The last thing we should do is create a wedge between the national set-up and the clubs.
"Accidents happen and I'm sure we'll review it and hopefully there will be things we can change and have a view on.
"We all want a strong national team and we all want strong Premiership teams. It's really important that we all keep working in the same direction.
"This may be a bump in the road, but I'm sure that we can pull together and get things right and move forward.
"We won't achieve what we want to do if we start going our separate ways. Nobody is stronger than each other, we have to be strong together so that we get the best for the clubs and the national team."
Amid the swirl of disharmony that threatens to re-open old wounds between Twickenham and the Premiership, England have received some positive news in the improving fitness of Owen Farrell.
Farrell has missed all six of Saracens' matches this season due to back and hip problems, but it is hoped the playmaker will be able to participate in Saturday's heavyweight European showdown with Toulon.
"If everything goes to plan then hopefully Owen will be available for this weekend. He's an influential member of the squad and it's good to have him around the team," Young said.