Adam Radwan (right) sprints during an England training session – but it was all in vain
England’s first fixture of the summer has been cancelled with the Rugby Football Union announcing on Sunday morning that the fixture between England ‘A’ and Scotland ‘A’ had been called off following more positive Covid-19 cases in the Scotland squad.
The fixture was due to take place at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in Leicester and will not be rearranged. It would have been the first game played by England’s second side in five years, when the team formerly known as England Saxons played two matches against South Africa.
Scotland reported one player had tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week and that a further eight players were isolating, which lead to Scotland calling up an additional five players to their squad.
However further positive tests in the Scotland squad – no exact number has been given – have now led to Sunday’s fixture being cancelled.
The RFU confirmed that ticket holders will receive an automated refund in the coming days.
England’s squad will train at Mattioli Woods Welford Road this morning before returning to Pennyhill Park to prepare for the upcoming Test matches against USA next Sunday and then Canada.
Jones said: “We are of course very disappointed not to be playing this match and particularly playing in front of a great crowd in Leicester.
“However, we understand that the safety and wellbeing of all of our teams and supporters is the most important thing and we wish Scotland the very best.”
England were set to field a side containing 11 uncapped players, one of whom was new captain Lewis Ludlow of Gloucester.
The fixture being cancelled means that five players including Ludlow who also qualify for other Test nations will remain uncaptured, unless they are capped against the USA or Canada. Those players are Ludlow (Wales), Dan Kelly, (Ireland), Jacob Umaga (Samoa and New Zealand), Harry Randall (Wales) and Heyes (Ireland and Wales).
England assistant coach John Mitchell, who was set to lead England ‘A’ for this fixture, spoke in the week following Scotland’s initial Covid-19 case about how England were managing their third bubble situation, following the autumn Tests and Six Nations.
Mitchell added: “We’re still very vigilant in terms of Covid protocols. The good thing is there’s so much more human interaction, whereas the previous campaign was a lot colder. The weather has been fantastic as well, we’ve got great facilities to train in. But people love the people connection, the ability to connect, but also being mindful that when you’re inside you’ve got to be aware of the two metres social distancing and the masks.”