The Sports Direct team were extremely happy to have England rugby legend Will Greenwood hosting a Q and A with England stars Jack Nowel (JN), Ben Te'o (BT) and George Ford (GF), in our Oxford Street Sports Direct store on 16/02/2017.
Talking everything from diets to training methods, we got a real insight into the secrets behind England and their amazing start in the RBS 6 Nations tournament.
WG - What is the mood in the camp after two opening victories in the RBS 6 Nations?
JN– Obviously very good, if you asked us a few weeks ago if we would win the first two games and we would be sitting in the position we are in now, we would have bitten your arm off for it. We have worked hard this week and the next important game is the Italy game.
WG – In terms of working hard Ben, What does working hard mean for an England player in the squad?
BT – Just everyone in motion, we had a pretty intense session on Tuesday, so just making sure you are hitting the high meters on your GPS and competing on every play.
WG – So let’s just break that down a little bit. Tell the kids and everyone about the detail of GPS and what it means for your training?
BT – So you have a little computer thing on the back of our jersey which measures your running and how many accelerations per minute; we are just trying to get up to high speed as often as we can. Each week we are measuring that, and trying to bring it up on an individual level.
WG - So as you finish you take the jersey off and the data is taken. How big is the back room staff that immediately pile through this data to see if they can find something to improve on?
BT – We have about three or four guys that will get that info within half an hour to assess your session and see how you’re doing.
WG – George, you are the controller of the midfield. How do you use this information to ensure players are in the right positions?
GF – First of all it has been made clear how we want to play, but of course it changes from week to week depending on the opposition. What we have to remember is the forwards are doing a lot of running so it is about managing the forwards, seeing what state they are in, and gaining the confidence during the week that we will get them in the right areas.
WG – Can you pick a top moment from the two RBS 6 Nations game so far when you have felt the attack has all come together and it was perfectly on song?
GF – Definitely, the first game was difficult, we didn’t hold the ball very well so we couldn’t build any phase of attack, but when Danny Care came on and we scored a try in the twenty two, I thought that was very well planned out and executed. Secondly I thought at stages in the first half against Wales we had a bit more motion and a bit more momentum to our attack - we got the big lads running and it felt like it was clicking into place.
WG – If you had to describe Eddie Jones in one word how would you describe him?
GF – Honest. Everybody knows where they stand. Everyone knows what areas of the game they need to work on. He says it how it is and there are no mind games, as a player it’s quite nice to have that because there are no excuses.
WG – Where did you start playing rugby and when did you begin to understand or think this could be my sport?
JN – Well I started playing when I was around five or six. I started playing in Cornwall and for me I always played it for a bit of fun. It wasn’t really ‘till I got to college and I was about eighteen that I was told if I got my head down trained well and played well I could get a professional contract.
WG – I have a great question from Oscar here.
George what would you advise Oscar to focus on that would allow him to enjoy his rugby and potentially improve?
GF – I think Jack touched on it then, first of all it is the enjoyment. Make sure you enjoy every second of it and you go out with your mates and throw or kick a ball around as there’s nothing better.
Ensure that never changes whatever level you are playing at. What we have spoken about these last few weeks is the basics. Ultimately the way the game is going if you can do the basics well, you can catch, pass and enjoy it, you will end up winning games and enjoying it with your mates.
WG – So Oscar, a chap I played with called Martin Johnson said it is not about the will to win. If you asked everyone here if they want to win the World Cup everyone would stick their hands up. He said it’s about having the will to prepare to win. So it is fun with your mates, but if you want to get to the higher levels, you have to practice your basics and be really in control out on the field so when the pressure comes so you can deliver.
Could you talk about what England are doing off the field that will help England achieve their goal of World Cup glory in 2019?
BT – I think we are looking at strength and conditioning to improve and being very specific with what we do. So if you are doing weights, it is not your traditional squatting or bench press, we are trying to incorporate a lot of movement specific to rugby so getting stronger will help make us better on the field. Also our running mechanics are something we have been working on in the last few weeks.
WG – Ben what is the most enjoyable thing about being part of the England squad?
BT – Personally being coached by Eddie, I feel like I’m learning every day and being around some of the top players in Europe for me is the most enjoyable thing.
WG – And Jack is there one treat that rugby players are still allowed?
JN – I’m still allowed a few chocolate biscuits and some chicken goujons on a Friday before a game.
WG – Only on a Friday?
JN - We need to get ready for the game as much as we possibly can. After the game we are recovering and a lot of the boys don’t eat after the game because they have been through eighty minutes, so it is just about getting anything into your body. After your hard work it is about enjoying your weekend.
And that concluded the Q and A with the players. Afterwards Will and the players stayed and took pictures and signed autographs for the fans. We have included some of the highlights below.
There was also time for the Sports Direct staff to get involved.
If you want to follow the England Rugby team as they try to retain the Six Nations title, you can shop our England Canterbury range here