Sam Underhill: “My sister’s a doctor. My dad got Covid and was hospitalised with it. I don’t fancy getting it or giving it to any family members. Anything for me that’s going to decrease that likelihood.” England face Australia at Twickenham on Saturday
By PA Media
Last Updated: 09/11/21 9:57pm
Sam Underhill insists choosing to be fully vaccinated was an easy decision to make as he predicts Covid will continue to cast a shadow over rugby for the foreseeable future.
England will be without prop Joe Marler due to the virus for Saturday’s Autumn Nations Series Test against Australia at Twickenham, the latest twist in a campaign disrupted by the loss of Owen Farrell against Tonga because of a false positive.
Farrell has since left self-isolation and is poised to lead the team against the Wallabies, but a member of Eddie Jones’ backroom staff also tested positive last week.
At least 85 per cent of England’s squad are double-jabbed, reducing the ripple effect of any breakout with players no longer having to withdraw for contact tracing reasons.
“It’s an ongoing public debate which gets into the realms of bodily autonomy and respecting individual decisions,” said Bath flanker Underhill.
“For us there are obviously consequences in terms of isolation lengths, contact tracing and all those sorts of things.
“Personally, I think the more information there is, the more informed you are the better… from good, reliable sources.
“I’m double vaccinated so I can speak for myself, not anyone else. It’s obviously having a big impact on the game. And it looks like it will (have a big impact on the game).
“My sister’s a doctor. My dad got Covid and was hospitalised with it. I don’t fancy getting it or giving it to any family members. Anything for me that’s going to decrease that likelihood.
“Being double-jabbed seems to have a very negligible effect on my wellbeing. In my opinion it’s a good thing.
“It’s not for me to dictate what people do, but I think it’s a very positive thing and a lot of very intelligent people worked very hard to get it out there so we can keep living the lives we live.”
Farrell’s availability at fly-half means Marcus Smith is likely to continue on the bench for Australia despite bringing Twickenham to its feet with a high-octane cameo against Tonga last Saturday.
Smith will be England’s smallest player on the field but defence coach Anthony Seibold insist there is no lack of intent in the tackle.
“One of the things I have seen with Marcus is he is willing to put his body in front,” said Seibold.
“However big or small you are, getting your body in front is an attitude thing. Marcus brings that attitude.
“He’s always talking to me about doing extras after training and he is very consistent about looking at his defence.”