Haskell believes fitness work will help England Push-on
James Haskell, who has retained England’s No.7 shirt, is something of a fitness expert, and he has appreciated the shift in emphasis brought by new head coach Eddie Jones, who believes the players need a higher level of physical preparation to play international rugby.
Jones claims his methods have increased standards by as much as 30 per cent, and Wasps’ skipper says the shift in approach compared to the Stuart Lancaster era is marked.
“We did so much fitness work before the World Cup but it wasn’t relevant because our games never went to those levels,” he said.
“The pre-World Cup period was probably the hardest fitness camp I have ever been involved with.
“But the ball-in-play time during the World Cup didn’t bring the games to the intensity we wanted. What we are trying to do now is build a fitness that is relevant to the style we want to play and play at that intensity - that is the difference.”
Haskell explained that the players are now much more involved in structuring training sessions, but left no room for doubt about who is in charge, and the extent to which the players are being challenged by Jones.
“The coaches have empowered the players, enabled them to improve and let them be themselves,” the flanker said.
“They are letting us do stuff, be positive and have the senior players run things.
“Eddie demands the right attitude and intensity in everything you do. England is not a place you want to be comfortable and relaxed. It is one thing being beaten by a better team but it is another thing not to show the right attitude.
“Eddie is driving a certain style of play. A lot of people have fitness inside them but it is about being able to go to that place repeatedly and understand what it feels like to suffer.
Haskell said England make good use of available technology, and that the new methods have increased his focus on fitness still further.
“We all wear GPS vests, heart-rate monitors and all that kind of stuff,” he said.
“We review training in terms of how quickly you get back into position and re-set, what your explosive metres are and how many high-speed metres you have.
“From the first session to where we are now, four weeks later, you can see progression. Whenever I am playing, I am thinking about it now.”
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