The England Rugby World Cup players have received instructions to stay in France during their designated “rest” week, despite granting some members of the management team and coaching staff permission to return home earlier this week.
After effectively securing their spot in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with a bonus point victory over Chile on Saturday, England now enjoys a 14-day break before their final pool match against Samoa on October 7th. As a result, the team’s management has granted the players Monday and Tuesday off. While they have no obligation to stay exclusively at England’s official base camp in Le Touquet, they will stay within France.
World Rugby has clarified that, technically, players have the permission to return home. However, since authorities still consider them to be “in the tournament,” they must fulfill various obligations, including making media appearances, providing information about anti-doping whereabouts, and fulfilling commercial commitments. Moreover, they remain bound by the tournament’s code of conduct. It’s worth noting that some teams have requested to leave the host country during their rest weeks, although authorities typically grant such requests based on reasons like “compassionate leave.”
Richard Wigglesworth and Kevin Sinfield
Confirming that management and assistant coaches, including Richard Wigglesworth and Kevin Sinfield, have received permission to briefly return to the UK, Borthwick, a member of the coaching staff, stated: “The players can’t leave Le Touquet, they stay in France.” He also stated that they won’t conduct any training for the next few days. Instead, they will utilize this time to prepare for the Samoa game, ensuring that they optimize their readiness for the upcoming match in Lille when training resumes on Thursday.
Borthwick is expected to remain in Le Touquet, as will some players, despite being just 50 miles from home. However, they are unable to return home, even though they have the option to travel over 500 miles to Nice.
Families are planning to join the players in France during this period. Jack Willis, a flanker for the team, acknowledged the challenges of being away from family, emphasizing the mutual respect in relationships and the support they receive.
Furthermore, Henry Arundell, the player who scored five tries in the 71-0 victory against Chile, will likely have the opportunity to represent England in the Six Nations next year, even though he is based in France. Arundell, 20, found himself unemployed when London Irish went out of business in June and subsequently signed with Racing 92.