Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Rowntree: England pushing to limit

Graham Rowntree insists England will continue "pushing themselves to the limit" in defiance of the heatwave sweeping the country in their pursuit of being the fittest team at the home World Cup.

The tournament hosts started week two of their summer training camp at Pennyhill Park amid sweltering heat with the temperature set to climb to 33 degrees on Wednesday.

The players are being subjected to a gruelling conditioning programme and forwards coach Rowntree insists no allowances will be made for the weather.

"We want endeavour from the lads, we want them to be pushing themselves to the limit and go to a place they've never been before," Rowntree said.

"We've got some horrible sessions planned for them, which is as it should be. They need that training to reach the fitness levels we aspire to.

"They're doing that so far because that what's you need to do to win a World Cup. They need to be as fit as they can be. They're training harder than I've ever seen."

England spend three weeks at their base in Bagshot before heading to Denver for a fortnight at altitude on Friday week, reducing their squad by five players to 45 in the process.

One player certain to be heading for Denver is Bath's rugby league convert Sam Burgess, who has impressed during training so far.

Rowntree, however, insists a decision has yet to be made on whether England view Burgess as a blindside flanker or centre, the two positions he has been filling for his club.

"Sam is a bit too good looking to be a forward! At this point we're just looking at him and we've not made our mind up just yet," Rowntree said.

"We're doing generic rugby skills work at the moment, so we'll make that decision in a few weeks' time.

"I've been impressed with the way he plays the game, how quickly he's learning and he has great physicality.

"He's good around the group - there's an aura about him. There's a reason he's achieved everything he has in league."


From Belfast Telegraph