England must stage their Six Nations title defence without respected assistant coach Jason Ryles.
In a significant setback to Eddie Jones, Ryles and his family have decided not to relocate from Australia to London this month because of the lockdown in place for the coronavirus crisis.
New arrivals into the UK from Down Under now have to quarantine for 10 days.
At this stage it is undecided whether Ryles will be replaced for the Six Nations, but it is hoped he will be available for the summer tour to North America.
“Due to the current COVID-19 lockdown, coach Jason Ryles and his family have chosen not to relocate to England this month as they had originally planned,” a Rugby Football Union statement read.
Ryles joined up with England on a permanent basis during the successful Autumn Nations Cup campaign having previously worked under Jones as a consultant on defence.
The former Australia rugby league international, who recently helped guide the Melbourne Storm to victory in the NRL grand final, has the title of skills coach and performs an important role in shaping England’s attack.
Jones names his Six Nations squad on Friday with the visit of Scotland to Twickenham launching his quest to win a fourth title.