(Photo: Getty Images)
By Nick Cain
ENGLAND’S preparations for the 2019 World Cup will involve training in sweltering tropical rainforest temperatures of 30 degrees by turning their indoor pitch at their state-of-the-art Surrey training base into a sweat-shop.
England head coach Eddie Jones revealed that his intention in setting up this “heat and humidity environment” is to get his players ready for the fluctuations in temperature that could occur during the tournament in Japan from September to early November.
Jones said that the humidity machines will simulate the conditions England could encounter.
“They get up to 30 degrees and 75 per cent humidity. You could have eight weeks of that temperature in Japan. No-one knows because that part of the year it could fluctuate, but in Tokyo at that time of the year that sort of temperature is regular – and that will make a hell of a difference to the games.”
He added that playing on the indoor 3G pitch would mirror those conditions: “It becomes a different game. It becomes like playing a game in a thunderstorm, because the ball becomes that slippery – everything becomes slippery – and you’ve also mentally got to get over it.
“You know when you run and it’s a nice crisp day it’s a different feeling to when you run and the humidity’s high. You feel sluggish, and one of the reasons you feel sluggish is because mentally you can’t cope with it, because it’s harder. So, one of things we’ve got to do is train the players to cope with it mentally, and then physically work out ways they can handle it.”
Jones said that England would start training in the sweat-shop environment this month: “We will do roughly two 30 minute sessions for the week before South Africa, just to give them a feel of it. Then we’ll do it again for the Autumn, and again for the Six Nations. The players are getting used to those conditions because we don’t have the luxury of playing in Japan beforehand.”
Jones explained the benefits: “There are a number of scientific and medical things you can do because some players will struggle and it will have a detrimental effect on how they are able to play rugby.”
He added: “Nathan Hughes sits down and he sweats, He literally has to change his T-shirt but there are ways of helping – maybe give him six extra T-shirts! We will find ways to help the players, and that is why it is so important to do it now, to help them cope when it comes along.”