England spent day during World Cup preparations training with riot police
England have confirmed they spent a day during their World Cup preparations training with riot police in order to improve their communication and organisational skills.
The event was staged at the Metropolitan Police's public order training centre at Gravesend in Kent in early July before the squad had departed for their fortnight at high-altitude in Denver.
The World Cup hosts were clad in protective clothing and helmets and carried shields while an urban flashpoint was simulated, receiving orders from police officers as mock rioters hurled wooden bricks.
Some players developed blisters due to the brand new army-style boots being worn, while the fatigue incurred during the drills resulted in a later start to training the next day.
The initiative - details of which had been kept secret by the Rugby Football Union - was designed to develop team-building principles and to bring the squad closer together.
"The exercise was valuable in getting the players to organise and communicate under pressure and they worked well together in testing and unfamiliar circumstances," an RFU spokesperson said.
England completed their World Cup with a 60-3 rout of Uruguay on Saturday, but their tournament demise had already been confirmed by successive defeats to Wales and Australia.
A statement released by the Metropolitan Police confirmed the details of the riot training.
"In July the England team took part in a day's level-two public-order training at the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) specialist training centre in Gravesend," the statement read.
"Police officers from across the UK take part in similar training. The training, which tests teamwork and resilience, included an exercise where, dressed in full protective equipment, a street disorder situation was played out."
News of the riot training comes the day after it emerged that backroom staff - not including any of the coaching team - had been sent on a leadership course that involved guiding horses around a field.
Held two years ago, the initiative was intended to encourage leadership and communication skills.