Utility players will be key amid tightened finances after COVID-19: Jones

Eddie Jones (Head Coach) of England during the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on November 03, 2018 in London, England.
Eddie Jones (Head Coach) of England during the Castle Lager Outgoing Tour match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on November 03, 2018 in London, England.
Image: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

The financial impact of the coronavirus crisis is likely to result in tighter rugby squads, which will put a premium on players who can operate at different positions, England coach Eddie Jones has said.

England's Rugby Football Union (RFU) last month confirmed the end of the 2019-20 season for all league, cup and county rugby due to COVID-19 but the English Premiership was excluded.

The Six Nations was also halted due to the outbreak.

The RFU have projected losses of up to 50 million pounds ($62.08 million) if no more games are played this year, while clubs have begun furloughing staff on a government scheme.

"How teams operate will be different," Jones said in a video posted on Instagram.

"I think every sport, particularly rugby, has been blown up through television rights and I think what will happen is that squads will become smaller and will need more multi-skilled players."

Jones, who accepted a salary deduction of over 25% to help ease the financial burden on the RFU, said England flanker Tom Curry, who can play at six, seven or eight, was a prime example of the versatility that will be needed.

"They are the sort of players you're going to need to have: Jack Nowell being able to play wing or flanker, Ben Earl being able to play flanker or wing," Jones added.

"Also in terms of your staff, you're going to need multi-skilled staff a coach that can coach across spectrums, physios who can do strength and conditioning... I would imagine that's the same in any business.

"So my message would be to learn what you can now, find a way to be active and productive and be ready for the future."