Kevin Sinfield insists England have remained united despite being buffeted by multiple setbacks before the World Cup has even begun.

Fiji’s visit to Twickenham on Saturday completes a warm-up campaign that has seen England’s record deteriorate to four defeats in five matches, leaving them bereft of form ahead of their pivotal Pool D clash with Argentina on September 9.

Some of the challenges facing Steve Borthwick’s men – such as the bans for high tackles issued to Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola – have been of their own making, but injury has struck too.

Anthony Watson has followed Jack van Poortvliet out of the original 33-man squad named by Borthwick and there are concerns over two more frontline stars in Tom Curry and Elliot Daly.

Sinfield insists that despite the adversity, England’s squad is showing no signs of splintering into cliques.

“We were a tight group already, but how you handle those setbacks and those obstacles are really important to how the team moves forward and how the team functions,” defence coach Sinfield said.

“After each one of those blows – if you call them that – we’ve got back up and gone again. We’ll continue to do that. These obstacles will continue to bring us closer together.

Captain Owen Farrell, right, will miss England's opening World Cup match through suspension

“In another group, in one that wasn’t as experienced or as hungry to do well, it might have been really, really challenging for us.

“When things start to pull apart there are fractures – groups start to break off and spend time together, sitting together and having separate meetings. There is none of that.

“They are very much together. Meal time shows you a lot of that – where people sit, the time they spend together. And on the field, how hard they work.

“Performances haven’t been where they have needed to be, but we are having constructive conversations too.

“The players are working together and nobody is blaming anybody – they are the signs that let you know we have a good group.”

One consolation England have taken from the cloud hanging over their World Cup preparation is that the events have left them battle-hardened for the weeks ahead.

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. We understand that when you’re preparing for something like this, improving is never a straight line,” Sinfield said.

Sinfield says the England camp is a tight-knit group despite the adversities

“We didn’t envisage encountering as many challenges as we have had, but it will prepare us for what’s to come when we get to France.

“In many ways the fact that we’re dealing with this now hopefully makes it easier for us when we get to France.

“The group are pretty tight, we’ll continue to fight and move forward and be better against Fiji.”

Joe Cokanasiga has been called into camp as cover in the event England suffer any more injuries to the back three.