Wales are set to be without four players for their Six Nations clash with Scotland next Saturday as they count the cost of a hard-fought win over Ireland.

Wayne Pivac's men had to recover from a first-half blip as they surrendered a 6-0 lead to 14-man Ireland after the visitors had Peter O'Mahony sent off for leading with the elbow to the head of Tomas Francis.

Ireland went into the break 13-6 ahead despite their personnel disadvantage, but tries from George North and Louis Rees-Zammit proved enough for Wales to claim a 21-16 victory.

However, it was something of a pyrrhic triumph with Johnny Wiliams and Hallam Amos poised to miss the visit to Murrayfield with head injuries, while Pivac also ruled out Tomos Williams with a hamstring issue and Dan Lydiate, who is suspected to have a knee ligament problem.

"We've picked up a few injuries so we're looking at those now, we'll make a better assessment [on Monday]," Pivac said.

"We're sort of counting the walking wounded after that one.

"The six-day turnaround means certain players won't be playing for us, two with the head knocks. A six-day turnaround means any head knocks, you're gone.

"Unfortunately we lose a couple of players straight away. We'll see how the rest of the squad is [on Monday] and look at what sort of side we can put together on Tuesday.

"Johnny Williams went off for a HIA [head injury assessment] and didn't come back on. The other one was Hallam Amos who took a late knock too. Those are the two head knocks.

"Then we've got a hamstring for Tomos Williams – we're hoping that's not serious but it won't turn round in six days, I wouldn't have thought."

Pivac added of Lydiate: "We're going to get that scanned but it's not looking too good. It could be an ACL but we'll get that scanned for a definite result.

"It's very disappointing for Dan and he's very disappointed in the changing room right now."

Ireland coach Andy Farrell, meanwhile, expressed confidence O'Mahony will make amends for his indiscretion, telling BBC Sport: "We've seen red cards for that in the past haven't we?

"I think we've seen yellow cards for other incidents that didn't quite go our way.

"He's been around enough a long time and he's gutted. He's been a pretty stalwart player for us in the past and he'll continue to do so in the future."

Wales took advantage of Peter O'Mahony's early dismissal and survived a fightback from 14-man Ireland to start their Six Nations campaign with a 21-16 win in Cardiff.

O'Mahony was sent off in the opening 15 minutes for contact to the head but Andy Farrell's men overcame their disadvantage in personnel to lead 13-6 at the interval.

But tries from George North and Louis Rees-Zammit turned the contest back in Wales' favour, with Ireland unable to produce another riposte.

The visitors were also dealt a late blow as Johnny Sexton went off with a head injury, giving Farrell plenty to worry about ahead of next week's clash with France.

Ireland were pinned for side entry at the ruck in the opening five minutes, giving Leigh Halfpenny the chance to boot Wales into a three-point lead.

O'Mahony was guilty of a much more serious infraction in the 14th minute, the flanker seeing red for leading with the elbow to the head of Tomas Francis as he attempted a clearout.

Wales, who earlier lost Dan Lydiate to a leg injury, doubled their advantage four minutes later through Halfpenny's trusty right peg.

However, Ireland enjoyed the majority of possession and territory thereafter in the first half and were rewarded for an extremely spirited fightback.

A pair of Sexton penalties drew Ireland level and a break from Robbie Henshaw then enabled Tadhg Beirne to dive over and give them a seven-point lead to defend.

Wales saw scrum-half Tomos Williams suffer a hamstring injury on the stroke of half-time but his absence did not prevent the hosts from getting back into the contest.

North capitalised after a series of Ireland handling errors to surge through a gap on the right and touch down, but Halfpenny misjudged the conversion attempt.

But that instance of profligacy from the tee did not prove costly as Rees-Zammit produced a stunning finish in the right-hand corner to put Wales back in front.

Halfpenny atoned for his earlier miss with a superb kick from the sideline to add the extras before knocking over a more routine kick as a penalty made it 21-13.

Billy Burns trimmed the deficit back to five points shortly after Sexton's exit but he failed to find touch with a penalty as he attempted to push Ireland to the five-metre line in stoppage time as Wales survived a dramatic final push from the visitors.

Gregor Townsend praised the "calmness" and "togetherness" that saw Scotland end 38-years of Twickenham hurt, as Eddie Jones took responsibility for England's Calcutta Cup defeat.

Defending Six Nations champions England were caught cold by a dominant Scotland showing at an empty Twickenham, a venue where the visitors had not beaten their rivals since 1983.

Stuart Hogg and Finn Russell were influential in a game marking the 150th anniversary of this fixture, while rookie Cameron Redpath impressed and Duhan van der Merwe scored the game's only try in an 11-6 win.

Reflecting on a famous victory with ITV Sport, Scotland coach Townsend said: "I think there was just a calmness about how we played, a togetherness and an effort level that was superb. 

"We had a really good feeling with the way we trained and bonded. But you never know, it's the first game of the championship, there were a few who had their first game for a while or debuts. It was above expectations but what a start to the championship.

"It's impressive, to win here is very tough. Our line-out was superb, we really respect England's set-piece, their line-out has been outstanding the last couple of years.

"We put pressure on lines-outs, the scrums were good – then we were accurate in attack. It's difficult in these conditions to go wide, which we did. The kicking was excellent and so was the players' leadership – you could hear them in this empty stadium."

Captain Hogg revelled in the win but insisted the focus quickly turns to next week's home clash against Wales.

"It's amazing for us, I think we can't control what happened in the past that's gone, we can control what happens in the future," Hogg said, 

"We were a credit to a man, credit to England they provided a tough challenge. We stood up to it.

"We got excited during the week, we knew we could come down here and put in a performance. We looked after the ball in attack, went for multi-phase and caused England problems. We'll enjoy this one then it's onto Wales."

England also lost their 2020 Six Nations opener to France but rebounded to win a championship delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The hosts were left lacking in both the possession stats and penalty counts, and head coach Jones said the buck lies with him.

"Firstly congratulations to Scotland, they played very well, played with a lot intent and a lot of spirt, we just had one of those days, maybe I didn't prepare the team right, we were a long way from our best," Jones said.

"You just have days like that. It's my responsibility, every time a team goes on the pitch it's a head coach's responsibility."

England's midfield pairing of Henry Slade and rookie Ollie Lawrence struggled to get into the game but Jones had a simple reason to explain that.
"You've just got to look at the possession stats, they had 75 per cent possession, a penalty count of 10 to one. That's why the centres didn't touch the ball, it's the basics of rugby," he added.

"It is what it is, we get the players, we accept responsibility for the players, I accept responsibility for not getting players ready for this game."

Eddie Jones questioned whether Scotland could handle the "weight of expectation" and they provided the sweetest of answers by ending a 38-year wait for a win at Twickenham.

Time and again Scotland had failed to beat their fierce rivals in their own backyard, but that elusive victory finally came as they regained the Calcutta Cup on a wet Saturday evening in London.

Gregor Townsend's side dominated the Six Nations champions on the opening day of the tournament, winning 11-6 to leave England head coach Jones with a face like thunder.

Jones will be asking why his ill-disciplined side started the defence of their title with such a flat, insipid performance in a game that marked the 150th anniversary of rugby's oldest fixture

Scotland had produced a sensational fightback to draw 38-38 at the same venue two years ago, before being denied an astonishing victory late on.

They never looked like suffering more heartbreak on this occasion, Stuart Hogg leading by example as they won at the famous stadium for the first time since 1983 to leave England shellshocked.

Scotland certainly did not resemble a team who might be feeling the pressure as they bossed the game from start to finish.

The Red Rose, starting the tournament with a depleted pack, were guilty of indiscipline time and again, with referee Andrew Brace losing patience when he sent Billy Vunipola to the sin bin.

Finn Russell deservedly put Scotland in front with a penalty early on and almost set up a try for Duhan van der Merwe with a clever kick, but the leaping wing was unable to grab a high bouncing ball and touch down.

Van der Merwe was not to be denied soon after, fending off Mark Wilson's tackle to put Scotland 8-0 up on the half-hour mark, but Scotland suffered a blow when Russell was yellow-carded just before the break for tripping Ben Youngs.

The boot of Farrell reduced the deficit to two points at the interval, with Scotland surely heading to the dressing room thinking they should have been further ahead after being frustrated by resolute England defending.

Russell returned with Scotland still leading and they continued to boss possession, managing the game superbly, and the fly-half's second penalty put them 11-6 up before he missed another shot at goal.

A furious Jones marched from the stands to the touchline to try and turn the tide, replacing Jamie George and Youngs with Luke Cowan-Dickie and Dan Robson before the hour-mark.

The excellent Hogg kept them on the back foot with a sublime, mammoth kick into the corner - not for the first time - and England were warned over their penalty count again, but more desperate defence denied Scotland a second try as they continue to hammer at the door.

Lacklustre England's day was summed up when Jonny May knocked on under no pressure in the closing stages.

Hogg said Scotland felt ready to "create a little bit of history" and start a "new chapter" this weekend and, as they finally celebrated on the Twickenham turf, it was evident the Red Rose had failed to live up to expectations.

Scotland ended a 38-year wait for victory over England at Twickenham as a hard-working and industrious display earned a deserved 11-6 triumph and Calcutta Cup glory.

Not since 1983 had Scotland beaten their biggest rivals at the home of English rugby but the fired-up visitors outbattled and outplayed Eddie Jones' defending Six Nations champions.

Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg were the attacking catalysts in a match marking the 150th anniversary of the first meeting between these old foes.

Rookie Scotland centre Cameron Redpath showed why there is so much hype with a promising display in an empty stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic that delayed the finish to the 2020 championship.

England were without five forwards but even accounting for that the penalty count was much too high and they were lucky to only be 8-6 down at the break – Duhan van der Merwe crossing for the game's only try.

The end result is a third Calcutta Cup in four years for Scotland, who had previously lost nine in a row between 2008 and 2017.

England's ill-discipline allowed Russell to boot over an early penalty and an accumulation of infringements led to the sin-binning of Billy Vunipola for a high, albeit loose, arm on Scotland's number 10.

Buoyed by the extra man Hamish Watson was held up at the line by Jamie George and only a cruel bounce denied Van der Merwe from meeting Russell's expert kick.

Another bomb from Russell set in motion the move from which Van der Merwe bulldozed through Mark Wilson's tackle shortly after as Scotland had reward for their dominance.

But skipper Owen Farrell quickly kicked the hosts onto the board before Russell was binned for a crude trip on Ben Youngs and another three-pointer from England's captain brought the score within two.

The numerical disadvantage did little to curb Scotland's enthusiasm early in the second half and Russell kicked a routine penalty after Ellis Genge was harshly pinged for not attempting to bind with a low tackle.

Russell missed with another effort that he will feel he should have made but still England struggled to garner any momentum.

Stuart Hogg was also off target from the tee to make it a nervy ending, but the final whistle was met with shouts of joy from the visitors.

England's depleted pack lacks punch

There is a sense of deja vu for England who lost the opening match of their 2020 title-winning campaign to France.

The absence of Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler clearly weakened a usually strong pack, while Joe Marler, Joe Launchbury and Sam Underhill were also absent. Without some key men, England lacked their usual set-piece prowess.

Russell and Hogg torment England

A year ago it looked as though Russell's international career may be over following a breakdown in the relationship with head coach Gregor Townsend.

His return to action for the 2020 finale was ended early due to an injury that ruled him out of the Autumn Nations Cup, but Scotland fans will be delighted their fly-half wizard has patched things up with Townsend after his magic helped seal a famous win.

He was helped by the brilliant Hogg, whose pin-point kicking and lightning-quick feet was a constant thorn in the side of an out-of-sorts England.

What's next?

England are at back at HQ as they aim to bounce back next Saturday when Italy visit Twickenham, the same day Scotland – who will now fancy a real crack at the title – host Wales at Murrayfield.

Scotland ended a 38-year wait for victory over England at Twickenham as a hard-working and industrious display earned a deserved 11-6 triumph and Calcutta Cup glory.

Not since 1983 had Scotland beaten their biggest rivals at the home of English rugby but the fired-up visitors outbattled and outplayed Eddie Jones' defending Six Nations champions.

Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg were the attacking catalysts in a match marking the 150th anniversary of the first meeting between these old foes.

Rookie Scotland centre Cameron Redpath showed why there is so much hype with a promising display in an empty stadium due to the coronavirus pandemic that delayed the finish to the 2020 championship.

England were without five forwards but even accounting for that the penalty count was much too high and they were lucky to only be 8-6 down at the break – Duhan van der Merwe crossing for the game's only try.

The end result is a third Calcutta Cup in four years for Scotland, who had previously lost nine in a row between 2008 and 2017.

England start their quest to retain the Six Nations title against Scotland on Saturday just over three months after they were crowned champions. 

The Red Rose dethroned Wales at the end of October, pipping France on points difference in a dramatic finale to a tournament that ended almost nine months after it started due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Eddie Jones' side are favourites to win the competition again, but Les Bleus are also well fancied to end an 11-year wait for Six Nations glory and face Italy in the first match. 

England do battle with Scotland for the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham, with Wales and Ireland locking horns in Cardiff on Sunday. 

Ahead of the opening round, we preview the upcoming matches with help from Opta.

ITALY v FRANCE

FORM

France have won 19 of their 21 previous Six Nations matches against Italy (L2), including their last seven in a row. Their two defeats in that time both came in Rome, in 2011 and 2013.  

Italy have lost their last 27 Six Nations matches, the longest losing streak in the history of the competition. Their last victory came at Murrayfield against Scotland in 2015, while they have not won at home since 2013. 

Les Bleus achieved a cumulative points difference of +31 in the first 20 minutes of their 2020 Six Nations matches. No other side managed a positive double-digit points difference in that period of matches, but Italy had a -39 difference. 

ONES TO WATCH

France wing Teddy Thomas scored a try in his last Test against Italy and is capable of lighting up the tournament. He can get off to a storming start in Rome.

Paolo Garbisi caught the eye at fly-half last year after being handed his debut against Ireland in October. Hopefully for his country, there is still much more to come from the 20-year-old.

ENGLAND v SCOTLAND

FORM

The last time England hosted Scotland in the Six Nations they drew 38-38 two years ago. Scotland clawed back the biggest ever half-time deficit (-24 pts, 7-31) by a side to avoid defeat in the tournament’s history, almost snatching victory before a late George Ford try denied them. 

Scotland have never beaten England at Twickenham in the Six Nations (D1, L9), their last victory against them the Red Rose at the London venue came in 1983 in the Five Nations (22-12).  

Gregor Townsend's side concluded the 2020 edition by winning their last three games in a row, their best run in the Championship since Italy joined in 2000. 

ONES TO WATCH

England captain Owen Farrell has scored exactly 1,000 Test points, one of just six men to reach that milestone. He is just four points away from reaching a century against Scotland.

Finn Russell returns to the Scotland side and the creativity provided by the fly-half will be key for Townsend's men.

WALES v IRELAND

FORM

Wales have lost their last two home games in the Six Nations, the last time they suffered three consecutive defeats at home was in 2002-03. Wayne Pivac's side have lost their last four games in the competition, their worst streak since 2006-07 (L5).  

No team scored more tries than Ireland in the Six Nations last year (17, along with France), four of those were launched from the back of a scrum. Wales (2) were the only other side to score multiple tries following a scrum.  

Ireland scored seven tries in the final quarter of their fixtures in 2020, more than any other side. Wales, meanwhile, scored the joint-second most in that period (6, level with England). 

ONES TO WATCH

Louis Rees-Zammit turned 20 this week and the Wales wing can celebrate in style with a livewire display at the Principality Stadium.

Ireland centre Garry Ringrose had terrible luck with injuries last year, but he is ready to fire on all cylinders in 2021.

Josh Adams has been suspended for Wales' Six Nations games against Ireland and Scotland after breaching COVID-19 protocols.

Wayne Pivac's squad were released from their training camp on Saturday and wing Adams attended a gathering the following day, where his immediate family were present.

That breach of the rules came to light when the squad returned for international duty on Tuesday, with Adams missing Wales' first Six Nations game against Ireland at the Principality Stadium on Sunday and the trip to Murrayfield six days later.

Adams said: "I would like to apologise unreservedly. When out of camp, at the weekend, I made an error of judgement. I attended a small gathering of immediate family to celebrate a family milestone.

"It was wrong to do this. I'm aware that everyone needs to follow the rules and being in the public eye I have a responsibility to lead by example and I've fallen short on this occasion.

"I'd like to apologise to my team-mates and to our supporters for my mistake."

Wales head coach Pivac said: "We are extremely disappointed with the breach and have acted robustly and swiftly to take all appropriate measures.

"All players and management have received detailed briefings and education regarding our protocols, and everyone has a responsibility to abide by the rules.

"On this occasion, Josh has made an error of judgement, he made a mistake and he has shown immediate remorse. He was present at a small, immediate family gathering to celebrate a milestone with those close to him but that is against the rules and action had to be taken.

"All members of the national squad have received extensive COVID-19 protocol briefings and education. We will continue with our programme, which has been very effective to date, and remind everyone of their responsibility to not only adhere to the extensive measures in place but also to set an example.

"We will work with Josh in relation to his integration back into camp following a further testing and re-education process."

New Zealand Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will switch codes at the end of the 2021 NRL season with the aim of playing for the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup.

Talismanic full-back Tuivasa-Sheck, 27, has been granted an early release from his Warriors contract to try and force his way into the New Zealand squad for the 2023 showpiece in France.

The 2018 Dally M Player of the Year and two-time Dally M Fullback of the Year expressed gratitude to the Warriors for allowing him to move to the 15-man format.

"This will be my last year with the club and yes, I will be moving to NZ rugby next year," Tuivasa-Sheck said during a press conference on Saturday.

"The club has been supportive in the request and giving me the option to explore.

"Rugby [union] has been the game I've grown up playing. It's always been there in the background. It's always been there, it's no secret. 

"To do it now in a time like this and have the club's support, that's why I chose it now. But rugby is down the line and all that stuff will happen later in the year.

"2021 is my focus, I'm excited about this year and so should the Warriors and NRL fans be.

"There's still a lot of goals I'm chasing [in league] and that's what I'm trying to do this year with the club. We've got a great group here and coaching staff to do something special this year."

Eddie Jones says Joe Marler's decision to withdraw from England's Six Nations squad does not mean his Test career is over.

Marler on Monday revealed he has opted against playing in the upcoming tournament so he can remain with his family during the coronavirus pandemic.

He tweeted: "Always grateful for the opportunity so not an easy decision, but want to do right by my family in these crazy times and won't be meeting up with the squad for this tournament. Look forward to watching the team rip in. Go well."

Marler announced his international retirement in 2018 in order to spend more time with his family but has gone on to take his tally of caps to 72 after reversing that decision.

England head coach Jones said the 30-year-old Harlequins prop, who also made himself unavailable for the tour of Australia in 2016 as he needed a rest, will be considered when he is ready to play for his country again.

"Joe has made a decision that we 100 per cent support," Jones said at the 2021 virtual Six Nations launch.

"When he decides to make himself available again we will have another look at selection. And that's how we look at it - 100 per cent. No ifs or buts, it's as clear as day.

"There will be some time in the future when he's ready to come back and will get selected. We'll take that when it comes.

"Joe has been an outstanding player during my time with England and I'm sure he was outstanding before that.

"He is tough, abrasive, a good defender, a great guy off the field. He's a bit nutty, but we like that, it's good to have characters like that in the squad."

England have also lost Sam Underhill (hip) and Joe Launchbury (fibula stress fracture) for the defence of their title, which they start against Scotland at Twickenham a week on Saturday.

Sam Underhill is the latest player to withdraw from England's Six Nations squad due to a hip injury.

Jack Willis has been called up as a replacement for back-row Underhill, who is another big loss for the defending champions.

Underhill played a big part in England's Six Nations and Autumn Nations Cup triumphs last year but sustained an injury blow before he was due to link up with the squad at St. George's Park on Wednesday.

Willis made his Test debut against Georgia last November and will be hoping to make his Six Nations bow in the coming weeks.

Underhill's withdrawal comes a day after Joe Launchbury and Joe Marler were ruled out due to a fibula stress fracture and personal reasons respectively.

England head coach Eddie Jones' preparations had already been disrupted last week when he was forced to go into self-isolation after his assistant Matt Proudfoot tested positive for coronavirus.

The Red Rose start the defence of their title against Scotland at Twickenham a week on Saturday.

Wasps back Paolo Odogwu and Bristol scrum-half Harry Randall have won their first England call-ups for the Six Nations.

Bath prop Beno Obano is the third uncapped player to be named by Eddie Jones in the 28-man squad.

Courtney Lawes returns from injury, while Mako Vunipola, who last played in the Autumn Nations Cup final win over France, will join the squad for rehabilitation but be unavailable for selection.

Wasps flanker Jack Willis and Bath's Jonathan Joseph only make the 12-man shadow squad, while Kyle Sinckler, who is banned for the opening game against Scotland on February 6, is not in either group.

Owen Farrell will retain his position as captain.

The squad will meet up at St. George's Park on January 27, with coach Jones, who is isolating after assistant Matt Proudfoot tested positive for coronavirus, set to arrive a day later.

"This has been a really tough squad to pick and I know there are a lot of disappointed players who haven't been selected," said Jones.

"We're really excited by the players we have got, it's a very vibrant squad and are looking forward to getting started next week.

"We're very grateful to the Premiership Rugby, the clubs and RPA [Rugby Players Association] for allowing us to have 28 players throughout the tournament, we're very happy with the number and it's testament to the growing relationships between all parties.

"Ultimately our goal is to win the Six Nations and to do that we'll need to work hard and prepare well each day and take it as it comes."

England squad:

Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Beno Obano, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola, Harry Williams, Mark Wilson.

Backs: Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Ollie Lawrence, Max Malins, Jonny May, Paolo Odogwu, Harry Randall, Dan Robson, Henry Slade, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.

Shadow squad: Charlie Atkinson, Ali Crossdale, Tom Dunn, Charlie Ewels, George Furbank, Joe Heyes, Jonathan Joseph, Joe Marchant, George Martin, Alex Mitchell, Jacob Umaga, Jack Willis.

Dan Lydiate has been recalled to the Wales squad for the Six Nations but there is no place for Rhys Webb.

Back-row Lydiate last played for his country against Australia in 2018, but the 33-year-old is among the 36 players selected by head coach Wayne Pivac.

Scrum-half Webb has been overlooked, with Gareth Davies, Tomos Williams and Kieran Hardy getting the nod.

Scarlets back-row Josh Macleod is the only uncapped player in the squad for a tournament Wales will start with an encounter against Ireland at the Principality Stadium on February 7.

Pivac revealed he was unable to pick Rhys Priestland, despite the fly-half being set to return to his homeland with Cardiff Blues next season, due to the 60-cap rule.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones is hopeful of being fit to face Ireland in Dublin as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

Ross Moriarty, Gareth Anscombe, Rhys Patchell and Scott Williams are among the players ruled out due to injury.

Pivac said: "We are hugely looking forward to meeting up as a squad on Monday and to the forthcoming campaign. The Guinness Six Nations is an important tournament and we have selected a squad accordingly.

"As we consistently spoke about, the autumn for us was about opportunity and development, looking ahead to RWC 2023 and it served that purpose for us.

"This campaign is different, it is tournament rugby and we are excited to get going and to play our part. We have picked a squad for this tournament based on form and we are excited to meet up on Monday and to get our preparation underway."

 

Wales squad:

Forwards: Rhys Carre, Wyn Jones, Rhodri Jones, Elliot Dee, Ryan Elias, Ken Owens, Leon Brown, Tomas Francis, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Will Rowlands, Cory Hill, Dan Lydiate, Josh Navidi, Aaron Wainwright, Taulupe Faletau, Josh MacLeod, Justin Tipuric.

Backs: Gareth Davies, Tomos Williams, Kieran Hardy, Dan Biggar, Callum Sheedy, Jarrod Evans, Johnny Williams, Jonathan Davies, Nick Tompkins, Owen Watkin, George North, Josh Adams, Hallam Amos, Louis Rees-Zammit, Leigh Halfpenny, Liam Williams.

England head coach Eddie Jones is self-isolating after assistant Matt Proudfoot tested positive for coronavirus.

England Rugby announced on Wednesday that Proudfoot, who is asymptomatic, returned a positive in the latest round of pre-tournament testing ahead of the Six Nations and is now in isolation.

Jones and attack coach Simon Amor were identified as close contacts and must also self-isolate for 10 days, as per United Kingdom government guidelines.

Should they return further negative tests, Jones and Amor will be able to link up with the squad at St George's Park from January 28.

England, who are set to name their squad on Friday, are due to begin the defence of their Six Nations title against Scotland at Twickenham on February 6.

Jones is expected to name a 28-man selection featuring mostly established international players, with strict COVID-19 bubble arrangements meaning he cannot call up a larger group and allow those needing game time to return to their club sides.

Rassie Erasmus says South Africa will "explore any option" to ensure they do not miss out on facing the British and Irish Lions.

The Lions are scheduled to lock horns with the world champions in July and August, but the tour is in doubt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Playing the series in the United Kingdom has been mooted as a potential alternative to the Lions flying out to South Africa.

Delaying the tour until next year could be another alternative and a decision is expected to be made next month, with talks among the Lions board ongoing.

South Africa's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, who who coached the Springboks to Rugby World Cup glory in 2019, says the Webb Ellis Cup holders are willing to be flexible over where and when they take on the Lions.

"We desperately want to play the Lions, and we will do anything to play them," he said in a press conference.

"This series only comes around every 12 years. I have heard the different calls and opinions about the tour, and although we didn't play in the Rugby Championship because of player welfare, it was also because we knew there was this big series in 2021.

"If option one of playing in South Africa doesn't work out, we will go to option Z to make it happen.

"We don't want to lose out on the Lions series, we feel we deserve to play against them. I want to, Jacques Nienaber [Springboks head coach] wants to, the players want to. So from our side, we'll do anything.

"But yes, we will explore any option to play the Lions, we will play next year, we will play over there. This is the view from a player and management perspective."

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