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Get As Fit As An England Rugby Union Player

We spoke to England Ruby Union players Jonny May, Billy Twelvetrees and Calum Clark about fitness, ears, pole vaulting, and lasagne

L-R: Calum Clark, Billy Twelvetrees, Jonny May

England Rugby Players On Fitness

Jonny: Rugby is great if you’re looking to get fit because it has so many different elements of fitness: strength, speed, agility, aerobic and anaerobic. Have a go and I’m sure you’ll find a few bits and bobs you’ll enjoy.

England Rugby Players On Training

Billy: Pre-season, we do a lot of athletic, sprint and aerobic training to bring the benefits of different sports into rugby.

My least favourite training is contact training, because my ears are always sore

Jonny: Lots of our training is relevant to all rugby positions. But each position has different requirements. Wingers like me have to be fast so we do more speed work and highball skills.

Billy: Forwards work on strength. Backs do lots of speed and agility.

Calum: As a forward you need to be able to handle scrimmaging, mauling and close contact work. My least favourite is contact training, because my ears are always sore.

Billy: After a Saturday game you’re still quite sore, so Monday’s leg exercises, squatting and power lifting are tough. Thursday’s full power session is my favourite.

Jonny eats 27 lasagnes the day before a game (well, almost)

England Rugby Players On Rest And Nutrition

Billy: Training isn’t just fitness, it’s recovery, it’s sleeping, it’s nutrition. There’s no point training hard if you’re not drinking well or eating the right stuff. This career is a lifestyle choice. You’ve got to sacrifice a lot.

Calum: Do we eat three roast chickens for breakfast? Not quite that much! I eat a lot the day before a game – at Northampton we have a roast dinner – but on game day itself I don’t like to eat too much.

I can smash 500 grams of mince in a lasagne the day before a game

Jonny: I can smash 500 grams of mince in a lasagne the day before a game. The morning of the game, I might have a tiny bit of porridge or leftover lasagne. I don’t like to play on a full stomach because of the nerves and anticipation.

Jonny was into pole vaulting as a kid – new drop goal celebration?

England Rugby Players On Other Sports

I was quite into pole vault when I was younger

Jonny: I love watching athletics on telly, but with the demands of training, there would never be a chance to get involved. I was quite into pole vault when I was younger. I did athletics and football. But from 14 I put all my eggs into the rugby basket.

Billy: It was always rugby or nothing for me. I loved playing football and cricket, but I definitely wasn’t good enough.

Calum: I spend a lot of time swimming, keeping active that way.

England Rugby Players On Pre-Match Rituals

Jonny: I pack my gum shield in my left boot. I’ve just always done it. They’re my two most important bits of kit, my boots and my gum shield.

Calum: I run once around the pitch. I don’t know why. To get going I guess.

England Rugby Players On Who’s Fitter, Rugby Players Or Footballers

Jonny: There’s less contact in football. They’re a lot lighter. It’s a very different type of fitness.

Billy: Look at a mid-fielder, they’re constantly running. Rugby is a lot more stop/start, high-intensity running. We’ve got a lot of heavier guys.

Calum: We spend a lot more time doing weights because we have to deal with a more physical side.

England Rugby Players On Favourite Training Tunes


Billy: Good Day by Nappy Roots.

Jonny: Alphabet Aerobics by Blackalicious. Did you see Harry Potter do it on Jimmy Fallon? I can do it! I’m not doing it now though.

Lucozade Sport is the official Sports Drink of England Rugby. To find out more about the importance of hydration in rugby visit lucozadesport.com or follow @LucozadeSport.

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