England squad to have their say on Saracens scandal says coach Eddie Jones

England head coach Eddie Jones
England head coach Eddie Jones
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England are to hold crisis talks to resolve any internal anger and resentment felt towards Saracens players because of the salary cap scandal.

Eddie Jones will preside over the discussions in Portugal on Thursday when his 34-man squad begins a seven-day training camp to prepare for the Guinness Six Nations opener against France on February 2.

Former Yorkshire Carnegie fly-half Jacob Umaga

Former Yorkshire Carnegie fly-half Jacob Umaga

Saracens will be automatically relegated at the end of the season for breaching salary cap regulations after opting for demotion when presented with the choice of a season in the Championship or opening up their books for a forensic audit and handing back their Premiership trophies for two of the last three campaigns.

Although none of Jones’ current squad have been critical of the double winners in public, the north London club’s repeated failure to observe the £7million limit for player wages has been a source of long-term frustration among rivals.

Saracens supply seven of the 34 players who will travel to the Algarve, including the influential Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Mako Vunipola, and Jones will encourage a frank exchange of views to address any ill-will.

“We have got to debrief Saracens. We need to get everything out on the table and sort it out,” Jones said.

“Well we are not robots. You don’t know how long it is going to take. It could take longer, but we will sort it out.

“It’s common sense – say what you feel. If players are angry about it then say it, get it out on the table.

“But at the end of the day there are 34 players who all want to play for England and their job is to get ready to play for England and sort it out.”

England must plan for the Stade de France showdown on Sunday week without number eight Billy Vunipola and wing Jack Nowell, who are set to miss the entire Six Nations with respective arm and ankle injuries.

Nowell finished Exeter’s European match against La Rochelle on Saturday but faces an operation to repair a damaged ankle that could prevent him from playing any part in the Championship.

It is the second hammer blow on a morning of bad news for England who also learned that Vunipola sustained a broken arm while on Champions Cup duty for Saracens on Sunday.

“Jack is injured and is going to have an operation and we’ll see when he gets back,” said Jones of the Lions wing whose career has been plagued by injury.

It is the fourth time Vunipola has sustained a fracture to one of his arms, robbing England of one of their most potent carriers for the Six Nations.

Joining Nowell and Vunipola in being absent from the 32 players who helped England reach the World Cup final last autumn are Jack Singleton, Mark Wilson, Dan Cole, Henry Slade, Piers Francis, Joe Cokanasiga, Ben Spencer and Ruaridh McConnochie.

Jones has called up fly-half Jacob Umaga, nephew of former New Zealand captain Tana and who spent last season on loan at Yorkshire Carnegie.

Steve Borthwick, meanwhile, is to leave his role as England assistant coach with Jason Ryles due to replace him in November.

Borthwick is widely expected to join Leicester.

He has worked with Jones since the latter appointed him as Japan’s forwards coach in 2012 soon after he ended a playing career in which he represented England 57 times.

Jones said: “I have had a great seven years with Steve. He is a loyal, hard-working and analytical coach but I understand he needs now to get out on his own following this campaign. He’s made that decision and we are really pleased for him.