The Autumn International Rugby Test Series begins when England take on the old enemy Australia at Twickenham on 07 Nov 2009. Tickets for England v Australia are still available. The England Team medical staff have been working closely with Gloucester Rugby following Mike Tindall’s suspected hamstring injury last night. It has been agreed that Mike will return to the England camp tomorrow where he will be further assessed. An MRI scan will be taken after which the cause and extent of the injury will be clearer and a further announcement will be made at that time.
In addition, the England team management can confirm that Ayoola Erinle of Biarritz Olympique will also join the squad on Sunday and take part in training on Monday and Tuesday. Final decisions on the 22 man squad for the Australia game will be made and announced on Tuesday 3rd November. Rob Andrew believes that England’s injury problems cannot be used as an excuse as they prepare for a challenging Test series.
Andrew wants England to show progress in meetings with Australia, Argentina and New Zealand despite the squad being shorn of several leading lights.
A full British & Irish Lions capped front-row, Andrew Sheridan, Lee Mears and Phil Vickery, is joined on the treatment table by flanker Tom Rees, fullback Delon Armitage and centre Riki Flutey.
Andrew, England’s director of elite rugby, sees the injury cloud as an opportunity to showcase the strength-in-depth of English rugby.
Last season’s November series represented a low ebb for Martin Johnson’s youthful regime, with hammerings dished out by the three Tri-Nations powers at Twickenham.
“By the end of the autumn, we’ll have an idea of where this group of players is,” he said. “More than anything, it will prove how much strength in depth we have. That’s now being tested in certain parts of the team.
“There is a lot of experience coming back into the group, players who are playing well. It will be great to see some of them back in the squad. As always, there are challenges – that’s the nature of the international game. I think there is a lot of enthusiasm.
“Yes, there are injuries. But that goes with the territory, and the players are raring to go. We will know by the end of the autumn how much progress has been made.
“We’ve made a lot of progress in the last 12 months – and we want to start where we left off at the end of last season as quickly as possible. This has been made more challenging by the amount of changes we’ve had to make.”
England parted company with former head coach Andy Robinson in 2006 following a disastrous autumn. But Andrew reports Johnson will remain place until 2011, whatever unfolds next month.
“We have made it very clear Martin is here to take this team through to the World Cup. We are building,” he said.