In order to eradicate the mental scars of the spring, Jones has organised a series of high-intensity training camps to develop the player’s fitness and togetherness as they prepare to go deep into the tournament in Japan.
In order to highlight the rigorous demands placed on the shoulders of the professionals, two plucky talkSPORT journalists were invited to Pennyhill Park to experience a day in the life of an England player.
Despite the blistering June heat and our severe lack of fitness, we both eagerly agreed to take part.
Under the watchful eye of Mark Wilson, Jonny May and Joe Launchbury, we were tasked with completing a series of daunting physical challenges, before enjoying a spot of lunch and watching an analysis session, courtesy of an England analyst.
Scroll down to see how well we got on.
Before engaging in the drills, we were first required to sign a waiver in case the physical exertions proved too taxing. Whilst this didn’t exactly put me at ease, we put pen to paper.
Upon receiving our instructions and getting changed, we headed out to a small artificial pitch to go through a series of stretches and drills focusing on ball skills and hand-eye co-ordination.
Suffice to say, we weren’t quite up to scratch and making a late surge for the plane to Japan in September became increasingly unlikely.
After that, we partnered up and performed an intense core exercise which focused on maintaining our balance whilst trying to knock our partner our their haunches. In spite of the burns sustained on the turf, it proved to be an enjoyable start to the day. How quickly it would turn.
As we headed down from the artificial pitch to take on the next set of challenges, the trio of England internationals tentatively asked about our levels of fitness.
In my younger years, I once considered myself to be of a decent standard of fitness. As captain of my school football team, I was regularly playing 90 minutes matches and, although that was six years ago, I still consider myself in decent shape.
So when I cockily replied ‘Yeah I’m not in bad nick, lads’, I should have known better.
Here’s a breakdown of what we got up to.
A drill to be completed with a partner, both participants lay down on their stomachs with one about five metres in front of the other and the other on the try line.
As soon as you hear the whistle from the coach, both subjects get to their feet as quickly as possible and the person trailing must try and catch the man in front of him.
The finishing point is on the 22-metre line, and the trailing partner has to try to catch the other one.
Using a series of cones, we set out a course designed to simulate the intense directional changes you would experience in a normal game of rugby.
Driving from the line, subjects were either required to then sidestep left or right depending on which end they started from, before twisting and turning at various different angles and speeds to reach the finish line.
Although the distance wasn’t particularly challenging, the fact the drills were timed and we knew what score we had to beat made us push one another even harder
Perhaps the drill which made me regret my cheeky comment from earlier the most, we practised a serious of carries with a partner to simulate the sort of leg drives which have become synonymous with some of the greatest England forwards in recent years.
Again, the competitive element was in place to ensure we pushed ourselves as we attempted three types of carries with a partner between two points, with the first pairing back being declared the winner.
Although it pains me to admit, this was the first time I have blatantly cheated in sport. Instead of completing all three lifts, we skipped one in order to try and close the widening gap between ourselves and the opposite team. Still ended up losing.
A drill designed to push us to the brink of our V02 max, we again lined up face down on the try line, only this time we were each given a ball.
The idea was we had to pick and go and drive to the end of our 22, before dropping down and repeating it back again.
It’s safe to say this finished us all off as, upon completion, we collapsed into sweaty heaps on the line whilst the England players tried their best to stifle their laughter.
After hauling ourselves off the pitch, we took to the showers and headed off for lunch.
The average rugby player will have a certain calorie intake in mind per day based on position. For instance, a forward will look to consume more as they look to build size (eating junk food is not an option unfortunately)
Non-refined carbohydrates, lean proteins, vegetables and fats should be the basis of every meal. Needless to say, I did feel a tinge of guilt as I wolfed down my BBQ chicken wrap, but the session beforehand had been sufficiently taxing.
After this, we headed back down to the performance centre to gain an insight into just how much analysis goes into every England performance.
Eddie Jones is renowned for being a meticulous tactician, with the Australian (a former PE teacher) openly revealing how much he loves to orchestrate training drills.
But in order to win the World Cup, Jones is willing to go to great lengths to ensure the William Web Ellis trophy returns from Japan this autumn.
During every training session, players are fitted with monitors to record heart rate and distance covered. If a player fails to hit a certain target, it is likely they will perform the aforementioned endurance drill to keep them on task.
ENGLAND'S WORLD CUP FIXTURES...
vs Tonga – 22/09/19
vs USA – 26/09/19
vs Argentina – 5/10/19
vs France – 12/10/19
Jones and his performance analysts also make use of cameras during sessions to gain as many vantage points as possible to spot and correct even the most minute error. Drones can often be seen flying above scrum practice as well to ensure the positioning of every pack member is correct to the last centimetre.
As part of our experience, we also got to see how this analysis is used in real-life game situations – in two of England’s best performances no less.
In both the New Zealand and Ireland games, the pressure placed on the opposition with and without the ball was relentless. And in doing so, it created enough confusion and chaos to leave space in crucial areas.
There is perhaps no single player who has benefited more from Eddie Jones’ appointment as England boss than Jonny May.
The Leicester Tigers winger made his debut in Argentina back in 2013, but has since developed into one of the most lethal finishers in world rugby.
Since Jones took over in November 2015, May has scored 18 tries and sits joint-sixth in the list of all-time England try scorers.
And the 29-year-old believes the success can be traced back to the work Jones and his squad undertake.
He said: “When you’re lucky enough to come here every day and every part of every day you’re learning and getting better because, in my opinion, this is the best place you could possibly hope for in terms of improving your game and getting better.
“The staff we have, the facilities we have and the players around you mean you can eat, live, breathe, and sleep the game. Everything is geared towards helping you improve.”
And how do these highly-tuned and pertinacious international rugby players relax? A spot of Love Island, naturally.
“We’re all watching it,” May added. “We actually all got together and watched it on Wednesday in the team room together.
“Pretty sad, but I’m looking forward to my Love Island tonight at 9pm.”
Japan Awaits – Mitsubishi Motors in the UK is giving England Rugby fans the opportunity to live out their ambitions by offering a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan this Autumn. To find out more visit the following link.
Joel Caudle displayed tremendous courage and resilience after being sent flying headfirst through the ring ropes.
The American heavyweight was on the receiving end of a barrage of punches from Cassius Chaney, an unbeaten prospect, at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland on Friday night.
Chaney, a 6’6 slugger with a perfect 16-0 record, caught his man early in the first round and looked to send out a statement on Top Rank main card.
Caudle was struggling to deal with the powerful shots he was receiving, but managed to somehow stay on his feet as right hand after right hand crashed home over the top of his guard.
Eventually, the brave journeyman ate a powerful right uppercut which caused his legs to wobble and give way.
As he lost his balance and hit the deck, his momentum took him straight through the ropes and into the audience below.
Somehow, Caudle managed to clamber back to his feet and entered the ring via the steps – even managing to beat the referee’s count.
Although it would have marked a sensational comeback, the fight was stopped almost instantly after the restart as the North Carolina-native’s legs buckled once more under a shot and the referee called a halt to proceedings.
The rest of the evening did not prove to be as eventful, with lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez doing just enough to gain a decision win over Japan’s Masayoshi Nakatani.
It’s fair to say Pablo Hernandez has become something of a cult hero at Elland Road since moving to Leeds United.
The diminutive midfielder, who has four international caps for Spain to his name, appeared to be settling down to retire when he moved to Qatari-based side Al-Arabi in 2014.
But, after moving to Yorkshire two years later, it’s fair to say Hernandez has begun to enjoy something of an Indian Summer in his career.
Under the tutelage of Marcelo Bielsa, the 34-year-old has taken his career to the next level, with the Argentine describing the veteran as ‘a complete player from every point of view’.
And it seems the PFA Team of the Year entrant is showing no signs of stopping after his sumptuous solo strike for Leeds against Western Sydney Warriors on Saturday morning.
With the game locked at 1-1 in stoppage time and after Patrick Bamford missed a glorious chance to open the scoring, Hernandez picked the ball up on the right wing and set about dancing though several defenders as if they were not there.
Taking the ball into the box on his left foot, the former Valencia and Swansea star unleashed a shot which flew into the corner.
Unai Emery has already confirmed that the match, which was initially due to be against Roma before the Giallorossi were forced to cancel due to Europa League commitments, will see him hand starts to several more youngsters after impressive cameos in victories over the Colorado Rapids and Bayern Munich.
Eddie Nketiah grabbed the winner against Bayern in Los Angeles and could well get the chance to lead the line, with Alexandre Lacazette afforded an opportunity to rest.
The France international played 81 minutes in the previous game and may well be excluded from the match day squad altogether.
Emery said of his young players: “I am very positive with them, I am very happy with their work every day in the training sessions and also in the match.
“We are going to play next Saturday against Fiorentina also in another match and we are going to use young players. It’s another chance for them to show us how they can respond, but [against Bayern], for example, is very positive.”
But the game was as much a chance to ease senior players back into the squad as it was to ingratiate some of the younger stars, like goalscorers Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster.
For Sancho however, he finds himself in the rare situation of being both a senior member of the squad and still a teenager. The 19-year-old came through the Manchester City academy, before moving to Germany to gain invaluable first team experience.
Liverpool’s pre-season preparations have been dealt a blow after being beaten 3-2 by Borussia Dortmund in their first match of a tour of the US.
In stifling conditions at the Notre Dame stadium in Indiana, the Champions League holders faced the Bundesliga runners-up in what Jurgen Klopp had called ‘the first proper test’ of his side’s pre-season.
Missing veterans Roberto Firmino, Alisson, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane due to the Copa America and African Cup of Nations, Liverpool were hurt by a sloppy defence and Dortmund wasted no time in finding the net courtesy of a close-range strike from Paco Alcacer after just three minutes.
Harry Wilson found the net in the 35th minute to draw level but Dortmund scored two quick goals after the break.
Thomas Delaney made it 2-1 eight minutes into the second half with an easy tap-in and Jacob Bruun Larsen extended the lead after finding the bottom corner in the 58th minute.
Rhian Brewster converted a penalty in the 75th minute after Ben Woodburn was brought down in the box but the Reds could not find the equaliser in the closing stages in front of the 40,361-strong crowd.
Klopp had featured many of the younger players in his starting line-up but handed Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum their first summer match action after making 10 changes on the hour mark.
Liverpool will continue their pre-season tour with at Boston’s Fenway Park against Sevilla on Sunday.
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