Eddie Jones thrown by figures showing England's high rate of training injuries

England winger Jonny May is assessed

England winger Jonny May is assessed

Eddie Jones is beating up his England team.

Bath rugby club owner Brian Craig first raised the issue after last year's camps saw Bath players such as Ben Obano, Zach Mercer and Sam Underhill pick up injuries when training under Jones, as Craig branded the heightened risk as "totally unacceptable".

As a result of this increase, the overall burden of match injury - which is a combination of both incidence and severity - now stands at the highest level since Twickenham began records in 2002. Nigel Melville, the interim chief executive of the RFU, said that it was World Rugby's decision as to whether the game should move away from synthetic surfaces. We have discussed this and we have looked at the transition of players from their club environment to the England sessions which are of greater intensity.

The average return-to-play time for an England player injured in skills training rose from nine days in 2015-16 to 44 and 47. "We are trying to manage them and there are positive signs".

"You are three times more likely to see a card for a deliberate knock-on than you are for a high tackle, currently, around the world", he said.

Playing on artificial pitches brings a risk of more serious injury, according to the latest RFU statistics.

Concussion remained the most commonly reported injury in 2017-18 - with 140 in matches, down from 169 in 2016-17. This comes in the wake of news that French rugby has witnessed their fourth fatality in eight months.

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There had not been enough time to properly judge if the lower tackle height trial had reduced concussions in the Championship Cup. The data is for last season in England's top flight of the sport which is released today and shows that the average severity of match injuries (the time taken to return to play) for the 2017-18 season was 37 days. "We need to progress and accelerate that work".

A spokesman for World Rugby said the governing body particularly welcomed the reduction in concussions, saying in a statement: "We will continue to collaborate with all unions and worldwide players on evidence-based solutions to mitigate injury risk as demonstrated via the wide-ranging programmes being implemented in 2019". Concussion was the most common injury in full contact training sessions with concussion and hamstring injuries being the most common injuries in semi-contact sessions.

The number of days' absence from injuries suffered while on global duty with England, both in matches and training, increased across the board, although in competitive action the total went down.

The report showed that the overall number of injuries in all competitions was slightly higher than the yearly average, but that there had been a steep rise in the number of more severe injuries leading to lengthy absences.

RFU medical services director Simon Kemp, who has been at the forefront of the battle to recognise and minimise concussion risk, said varying interpretations of a high tackle were not helping.

Concussion accounted for 18% of all injuries to the ball carrier and 37% of all injuries to the tackler, highlighting the tackle as the key game event to consider when developing concussion and all injury reduction strategies.

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