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Premiership Rugby and Rugby Football Union hold 'constructive' talks

Published 13/10/2016

Eddie Jones spoke with coaches and bosses from Aviva Premiership clubs
Eddie Jones spoke with coaches and bosses from Aviva Premiership clubs

Premiership Rugby and Rugby Football Union bosses insist the relationship between club and country in England is on track after positive talks in London.

The Aviva Premiership's governing body and the RFU met in a long-scheduled regular summit near Heathrow on Thursday afternoon.

A nucleus of Premiership coaches had expressed frustrations after England's gruelling three-day training camp in Brighton, where Sam Jones, Anthony Watson and Jack Nowell all suffered significant injuries.

England boss Eddie Jones fielded concerns from Premiership coaches and bosses on Thursday, but the club game's administrators were pleased with the outcome of the talks.

"It was a good meeting, very amicable and constructive, with everyone committed to working together in the interests of clubs and country," said a Premiership Rugby spokesman.

"The nature of any relationship means you have occasional differences.

"The key thing is to work through them and find solutions.

"Today's meeting was part of that process, and we both want the best for club rugby in England and the England team."

Saracens coach Mark McCall had questioned the timing of England's Brighton camp, just before the start of this year's European Champions Cup schedule.

Exeter boss Rob Baxter was frustrated to have Nowell return to the Chiefs with a significant thigh problem, and queried the amount of work his wing was tasked with given the 23-year-old had only just recovered from thumb surgery.

Wasps boss Dai Young struck a conciliatory note however after losing flanker Jones to a broken leg suffered in a judo session during England's training meeting in Brighton.

Bath flyer Watson suffered a broken jaw in rugby training in Brighton, with the injuries restricting England boss Jones' resources for the forthcoming autumn internationals.

Both the RFU and Premiership Rugby hope Thursday's meeting will go a long way to alleviating any lingering frustrations though.

An RFU spokeswoman said: "It was a good meeting, all very amicable and constructive, with everyone committed to working together in the interests of club and country."

The majority of clubs were represented at Thursday's meeting, but those that were not present were said to have offered valid reasons for absences.

Leicester's Richard Cockerill had already said he would not attend, though insisted he had no issue with the club-country relationship.

The Tigers face Glasgow in Scotland on Friday night, and Cockerill had prioritised match preparations amid a hectic week.

Several rugby directors unable to attend are understood to have sent notes to Premiership Rugby's director of rugby Phil Winstanley, to ensure their views were expressed during the meeting.

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