Several England coaches will return home during their rest week at the World Cup even though the players have been told to remain in France.
England’s final pool D match is against Samoa on 7 October giving them a 14-day turnaround after their 11-try victory against Chile on Saturday which all but assured their passage through to their quarter-finals.
England head coach Steve Borthwick has given players and backroom staff four days’ down time. They will reconvene at their base camp in Le Touquet on Wednesday ahead of their first training session on Thursday. The squad split on Sunday with the majority remaining in Lille while around a dozen players, including Courtney Lawes and Jamie George, returned to Le Touquet.
Players are technically allowed to return home during the tournament under World Rugby regulations but must fulfil several obligations including anti-doping whereabouts and commercial obligations. They must also stick to the tournament code of conduct rules. In normal circumstances, players will only leave the host country on “compassionate grounds” while their teams remain in the competition.
However, while Borthwick is understood to be remaining in Le Touquet, he confirmed that he will be allowing management staff including defence coach Kevin Sinfield and attack coach Richard Wigglesworth to briefly return home. “The players can’t… the players are allowed to leave Le Touquet, they don’t go back to England, they stay in France,” Borthwick said. “But they’re allowed to leave Le Touquet.
“There’s no training for the next few days. I’ll be using it in preparation for the Samoa game and ensuring that when training commences on Thursday our preparation is spot-on for everything we need to come back here to Lille to get the performance we want.”
Several players will be heading to the bright lights of Paris while others are inviting their families over before the business end of the tournament looms into view. As Telegraph Sport previously reported, Borthwick has made an effort to integrate family time within their intense training schedule where possible.
Flanker Jack Willis will be one of those players who will invite his family over and he admits it has been a wrench being away from them up until this point. “That’s the plan for me,” Willis said. “I love my family lots so it will nice to get back to Megan and my little boy. I think for us, it’s always a challenge being away from your family. They have to hold the fort at home when we are here working away.
“It’s a challenge for both ends. I think there’s a mutual respect in everyone’s relationship in what is going on there. I couldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Megan and everything she does for us. It works both ways in these relationships and we just want to do them proud.”
Borthwick was given a clean bill of health in the medical report and with flanker Tom Curry completing his two-match suspension he will be able to choose from all 33 players against Samoa.