11 Jan 2019

Rugby: England fullback defends injury toll under Jones

12:59 pm on 11 January 2019

Fullback Mike Brown has defended Eddie Jones' training methods after figures revealed players are more likely to be severely injured during sessions conducted on his watch as England rugby coach.

Jones was heavily criticised last year for the number of casualties sustained in practise, igniting a row with Bath owner Bruce Craig in the wake of prop Beno Obano suffering serious knee damage at a camp in Brighton.

England fullback Mike Brown

England fullback Mike Brown Photo: Photsport

England's head coach has since adjusted his approach following intervention from the Professional Game Board, but injury figures for the 2017-18 season illustrate the extent of the issue.

Since he replaced Stuart Lancaster at the end of 2015, both the number and severity of knocks sustained on the training ground and during conditioning sessions have increased every single season and now stand at their highest level since the Rugby Football Union began compiling records in 2002.

Brown, however, sees it as the inevitable consequence of ensuring the English game's most determined players can thrive at the highest level.

"England training is probably a bit more intense than club training, but you have to understand that as an international you're a very competitive animal," Brown said.

"You're fighting to play for your country, so in every session you want to show what you can do.

"When every player is training like that - which they have to, to get selected - there might be accidents.

"And it's international rugby, so you have to prepare yourself accordingly. You need to have higher intensity. These things happen.

"The guys at England training are also the most competitive at their clubs and that's why they're striving to be international players. If you have 30-odd players like that in a session ..."