England rugby defiant over team delay

Bagshot (United Kingdom) (AFP) - England insisted Thursday they had done nothing wrong in delaying the announcement of their team to play Fiji at Twickenham on Saturday.

Traditionally, teams for rugby internationals are announced at least two days out from a game.

England were due to unveil their side to play Fiji on Thursday but injury doubts over three players -- Elliot Daly, Billy Vunipola and Nathan Hughes -- led coach Eddie Jones to put his announcement back until Friday.

England were reportedly unhappy last year when France did not announce their side for a World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham until the day before the game.

From January 1, World Rugby -- the sport's global governing body -- plans to bring in a regulation obliging teams to announce their sides 48 hours before kick-off in the absence of any agreement between the two sides to do anything different.But as far as this weekend is concerned, England's governing Rugby Football Union was adamant Thursday they had done nothing wrong.

"The tour agreement for the series does not contain any regulations or commitments around the timing of team announcements," said a RFU spokeswoman.

"World Rugby are aware of the reasons for the delayed announcement and understand."

In an ironic coincidence, as the RFU defended their handling of the England team announcement on Thursday they also issued the Fiji team on behalf of the Pacific Islanders.

England said Daly had an "upper body injury", with No 8 Vunipola battling against "upper body soreness" and Fiji-born back-row Hughes trying to overcome a lower leg injury following their 37-21 victory over South Africa at Twickenham last weekend.

"There are a few injury concerns which we're sorting through at the moment," said Jones at England's training base in Bagshot, southwest of London, on Thursday.

"We're announcing the team on Friday.

"This delay is a deviation from our normal procedure but is in line with the regulations for team announcements.

"Billy and Nathan are still carrying knocks from the previous game. Elliot Daly is also carrying a knock from the previous game and we're looking to see how they resolve themselves over the next 24 hours before making a final decision."

The Australian, who has won all 10 games as England boss since taking over after last year's World Cup, added: "It's ongoing, sometimes these things take a good turn and sometimes they take a bad turn.

"You get more information or less information, good information or bad information. We're processing all that."

Fiji, who won gold at the inaugural Olympic Rugby Sevens in Rio earlier this year, are renowned for their free-flowing style.

"You can't join the party," said Jones.

"They want to have a kava party. We don't want to have a kava party, we want to eat fish and chips, so we will be making sure we eat fish and chips on Saturday.

"You just don't want to open the game up too much. You go anywhere in Fiji...We've got to play a very structured, controlled, positive game."