When you really want your main spokesperson to be available, unfortunately, Eddie Jones is now self-isolating after his England Rugby forwards coach Matt Proudfoot has tested positive for Covid-19.
Bad timing for the RFU to say the least although, with Jones’ ability to communicate, isolation may not be a hindrance. In-person or virtually, the media will have access to Jones, even if his probable England squad members won’t see him until the days after assembling in late January.
Proudfoot has been identified as a close contact for Eddie Jones, so as per NHS protocols, the head coach will isolate himself from his staff. If only to minimize the impact on others but inadvertently, he’ll be the one on the outside. The voice on the phone or tablet, while the whistle is in the hand of assistants and skills coaches.
— Newshub Sport (@NewshubSport) January 20, 2021
Will it affect his ability to coach? Mildly; that is unless his symptoms become elevated. But in a perfect scenario, this week Jones can be available to discuss and confirm his England squad. And he can then begin the public relations and rugby-speak campaign to offset his Guinness Six Nations opposition. [Don’t imagine that competitive side of Jones being put into neutral.]
Eddie Jones self-isolating in ‘Big Week’ for England Rugby
It is a big week for the side. Winners of the previous year’s extended series, and the Autumn Nations Cup tournament. So Eddie Jones and his England men will be warming up for another campaign.
Many have identified the limitations that Saracens players might suffer from – including a most embarrassing loss to the Ealing Trailfinders. Hardly good applications to state ‘I am ready to face France’ yet, that is not entirely what Jones considers. He has a backstory to every player. So being isolated for him could be similar to how he researches and identifies a player’s all the time.
But what he will miss is the hands-on backs. The touch of a handshake, a pat on the head, and an impromptu huddle. Jones might have an earpiece hooked up to one of his aides. Incorporating a video camera like referees now utilize, Jones might upload all the contact with backs, forwards, and maintain his ‘finger on the pulse’.
While not a control freak, the fact there are more than half a dozen coaches might point to a separate problem for England Rugby. Is Jones the coach? Or just managing the group? If his isolation shows how vital his organizational skills are or…….he is not missed. A tough question for the RFU board to mull over.
NOTE: the England Rugby squad for the 2021 Guinness Six Nations is announced on Friday, January 22.
What does an England Rugby Covid Manager do?
Chris Jones explained this week how six new roles have been created for the 2021 Championship. To meet the needs of any situation; ie Eddie Jones needing to self-isolate along with forwards coach Matt Proudfoot.
Time-wise, the new role creation is mandatory. Even if Covid-19 has increased awareness of health and welfare, this person will be required to monitor compliance with new standards. Some that have been used positively in Premiership and domestic rugby across Europe, yet, with the heightened risk to International movement, these new staff will have to foresee and manage every possible situation.
These times do need additional controls. Adding staff might seem excessive, and you do wonder what does an England Rugby Covid manager do but, as the reality of Eddie Jones’ isolation sinks in – it couldn’t hurt.
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