With the 2019 Rugby World Cup kicking off in a matter of days in Japan, teams are putting in their final gym sessions and strategic plans ahead of their first match. Squads are keeping things close to their chests, and none more so than England who have taken their training underground.
It’s the brainchild of coach Eddie Jones, who has used this technique before and moved weights and other equipment to a screened-off area of an underground car park beneath the team’s hotel. It helps keep training closed and away from prying eyes, and also creates a hot and humid environment that is close to the playing conditions the players will face.
Jones has been here before. He has previously coached Japan and knows just how hot and sticky matches can be in Miyazaki in the south of Japan, where England will be based for their group matches.
Acclimatising them to the conditions now is one of the best ways to prepare them physically for the crucial matches coming up, in what is a tough group.
For England, things look to be coming together at just the right time and there are odds of around 9/2 of them lifting the Webb Ellis trophy just over six weeks from now.
There will be many eyes on the key match from England’s group on Saturday 21st September when favourites New Zealand, at 6/4, take on South Africa who share odds with England.
England will feel confident going in to their first match against Tonga, knowing that they have prepared well both on and off the field. Jones knows only too well, however, that the world stage is the perfect setting for a shock defeat, demonstrated perfectly four years ago when his then-team, Japan, beat the mighty Springboks.
England vs Tonga is at 11:15am on Sunday 22nd September.