Head coach Andy Robinson has defended his decision to make England's 22-man squad unavailable for Guinness Premiership action this weekend.
England have spent the last week training at Loughborough University in preparation for their Twickenham clash with Australia a week tomorrow in the first of three autumn internationals.
Robinson says he needs the extra week to build a side capable of competing at the highest level. The Premiership clubs agreed to this for November but are involved in a civil war with Robinson's employees at the Rugby Football Union over managing elite players and fail to understand why England need so long to prepare.
But Robinson was unrepentant yesterday and said: "It is about elite performance. I have no doubt about our preparations. The 22 should not be playing in a game this weekend. It's as if we are going to the Olympic Games. We are going to the highest level of performance. We want special performances against Australia, we are going to need that. We need players playing outside their comfort zone.
"The training is highintensity. The players can't play every week, it is right for them to have the week off."
As a result of this week's training camp the England players, for the first time, will be given Wednesday and Thursday of Test week off. Robinson said: "When you bring a team together and gel a side, it takes time and that is why we have come to Loughborough.
"It has enabled us to generate units and gel the whole team and the way we want to play together.
"If you have only the week of the Test match, sometimes when the players have played at the weekend, you don't have time to do that.
"This has enabled us to build and next week they can have more time off and peak for the game. This is a twoweek process. By not playing at the weekend there is no risk of injury so the starting XV won't change."
The RFU seek a blockrelease plan with clubs, thus having complete access to the England squad for five weeks in the autumn and eight weeks for the Six Nations. But there is no agreement on training days beyond the autumn programme, leaving England unable to draw up any Six Nations or long-term World Cup plans.
The RFU has scrapped the Long Form Agreement - the blueprint for running the professional game in England - and both sides appear intransigent. But Robinson, who is on the RFU's negotiating panel, believes the row will not overshadow England's Test preparations.
He said: "The players went to a Premier Rugby meeting this week to be given a clear understanding what is happening from clubs' perspective. I supported that. Then the players turned up at training and we all said: 'Let's get on with preparing for Australia'. That is what has happened. Everybody understands where they stand and we have got on with it."