Eddie Jones is preparing his England side for three Test matches against South Africa in June

England boss Eddie Jones has strongly defended his training methods after stinging criticism from the Bath owner Bruce Craig.

A handful of Bath players have been injured with England, with prop Beno Obano the latest, leading Craig to call the situation “totally unacceptable.”

Worcester’s Ben Te’o is also out of the South Africa tour with a quad problem, although this was a pre-existing issue.

“I haven’t seen any figures to suggest they are [unacceptable],” said Jones.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, he added: “No-one within our staff has suggested they are, but Bruce is obviously an expert on training-ground injuries, so I’ll have to be subservient to his greater knowledge.”

England’s training regime under Jones is notoriously tough, but the Australian believes it is necessary to close the gap between the club and international game.

Jones’ side face the Springboks in three Test matches next month, with the opener at Ellis Park on 9 June.

“The intensity and the speed of the game is far greater in international rugby, and therefore the preparation you have to have to play Test rugby has to be more intense than club rugby,” Jones continued.

“That doesn’t downgrade club rugby at all, it’s just a different level of rugby.”

Hooker Jamie George added: “It isn’t too tough, it’s what is appropriate for Test match rugby. It is a step up, and you need to prepare yourself for that physically and mentally.

“We do train hard, the intensity of training is hard, but it is appropriate for what we need going into this Test series.”

Vunipola ‘still a concern’

Billy Vunipola has been carrying a hamstring injury

Jones also says Billy Vunipola’s fitness remains a concern, despite the number eight playing 60 minutes of Saracens’ Premiership final victory over Exeter.

Vunipola, who has been plagued by injury in recent years, has been managing a hamstring niggle for the past few weeks.

“We still have a concern over his hamstring and how fit he is going to be,” Jones said.

“It’s still a little bit tight so we have just got to be careful with him. He might be right for Saturday week.

“We have gone through a long period without Billy and while he’s a great player we have been able to cope without him.

“We want him back in the side, but if he’s not we will work out another way to play.”

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