The Rugby Football Union is hopeful that Twickenham will be 50% full for England’s summer trials against the US and Canada in July after confirming the decision to move the proposed North American tour to their homeland. .
Subject to government guidance, the RFU is optimistic that it will be allowed to admit 41,000 fans for the games against the United States on July 4 and Canada on July 10. An England A match has also been organized for the first time in five years with Scotland A at Welford Road on Sunday 27 June. The RFU has decided to return to “A”, rather than the Saxons, but it is understood that the debutants will continue to be linked to England.
The Saxons have been inactive since a 2016 trip to South Africa, but Jones and RFU performance rugby director Conor O’Shea were eager to repeat the second team. Exeter’s Ali Hepher took over in South Africa, while Jon Callard previously managed the team, but it is understood that Jones will take over against Scotland A.
Confirmation of England’s summer matches comes as part of the revised World Rugby schedule with Wales hosting Canada, for whom Rob Howley is now working, and two Tests against Argentina in July. Ireland will host Japan on July 3 and the USA on July 10, after which Andy Farrell could theoretically join the coaching staff of the British & Irish Lions. South Africa have organized two games against Georgia that will be vital to their preparations to face the Lions as the Springboks have not played a Test since their victory in the 2019 World Cup final.
With 11 players out with the Lions, the game against Scotland A and Trials against the USA and Canada will give Jones a chance to bleed several youngsters. Jones had hoped that Warren Gatland would select more members of his England team, but had said beforehand that even if some of his older players were overlooked, he would seek to rest them to give the younger ones a chance.
Four years ago, Jones selected several inexperienced players for the Argentina tour and debuted with Tom Curry and Sam Underhill, the “Kamikaze Kids” who proved so influential in the race to the World Cup final two years later. “The summer series will give us the opportunity to look at a lot of players and see how they push themselves, and it is an important part of our preparation for the World Cup,” Jones said. “For the younger players, it is an opportunity to show what they can do internationally and what they are like in the team environment.”
In the southern hemisphere, the Springboks will face Georgia on the weekends of July 2-3 and July 9-10, with the first test of the lions taking place two weeks later. The South African union still has hopes of crowds of up to 50% capacity and a full itinerary is expected this week. Meanwhile, Australia will host France and New Zealand will welcome Fiji with plans to play Italy shelved.
Mike Brown will know if he played his last game for the Harlequins on Tuesday. The 35-year-old winger, who joins Newcastle next season after 16 years at the London club, was sent off on Sunday for a stamp on the head of Wasps’ Tommy Taylor. The offense carries a minimum six-week suspension, but Brown will expect mitigation given it was the first red card of his career.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism