Barnes: England elite need better management

England's growing injury problems could be eased if players were centrally managed, according to Bath prop David Barnes. [more]

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England’s growing injury problems could be eased if players were centrally managed, according to Bath prop David Barnes.

The Rugby Football Union are reportedly looking to reach an agreement with Premier Rugby, the umbrella body for the Guinness Premiership clubs, on an element of central control for England players.

And Barnes, chairman of the Professional Rugby Players’ Association, believes this could in future help alleviate problems which have seen Sale’s Jason Robinson ruled out of a pre-Six Nations training camp and possibly the opening game against Scotland on February 3 after playing five matches in 20 days over the festive period.

Fellow wingers Mark Cueto (calf) and Paul Sackey (knee) were also sent home on Tuesday, with the latter likely to be out for a month.

Lock Louis Deacon (knee), prop Phil Vickery (ankle) and flanker Magnus Lund (calf) all picked up injuries at the weekend but are expected to join in training today, though Julian White is a doubt after suffering a knee injury yesterday.

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"I know how Jason is feeling. I was luckier with injuries but I still felt absolutely exhausted," said Barnes, who was forced to play every game over the Christmas period because of injuries.

"No player should have to play that number of fixtures in such a short space of time and hopefully they never will again.

"We have just had our latest burnout figures back for the December to January period and the year-on-year results are startling.

"It was a difficult situation for Sale given all the fixtures and injuries they had and I understand they rested Jason as soon as they could.

"But in general terms, if a player like Jason can be more carefully managed – whoever it is by – then he would not be in the condition he is now.

"That can only help the player, his club and England."

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