'The data was off the scale' - The monster training camp that has England primed for Six Nations glory
England are aiming to become the first team to win three consecutive Six Nations championships and Bernard Jackman thinks that the training Eddie Jones' side did over the summer has them in great condition to take on the challenge.
England won the first 17 games they played under the Australian coach, before coming unstuck in the final game of the 2017 Six Nations as Ireland denied them a second straight Grand Slam at Lansdowne Road.
According to Jackman, after an impressive first year under Jones, England's fitness levels 'plateaued' during last season's Six Nations - until an intense summer training camp saw standards rise again.
Speaking on The Left Wing, Independent.ie's rugby podcast in association with Laya Healthcare, Jackman said that in preparation for the two-match tour of Argentina last summer, Jones put his squad - shorn of its Lions contingent - through a ferocious fitness regime in an attempt to fulfill his target of having England 20% fitter by the 2019 World Cup.
"The main philosophy that he has brought to England is fitness and the ability to train at incredible intensity," Jackman said.
"So when he came in, he said they weren't fit enough and Billy and Mako Vunipola really responded well to that. In last year's Six Nations, it plateaued.
"A group of senior players went on the Lions tour and there were two weeks prep in Pennyhill Park before the tour to Argentina and Jones said 'I've nothing to lose here' and he pushed it again. A couple of players broke, I think four of them went back to their clubs broken. He got a set of data that was off the scales compared to what they were able to do in the Six Nations. So when those Lions players came back in November, he showed them the data and said 'this is what the next generation can do'. And apparently now the senior players have stepped up and matched that again.
"It is all around this propaganda and drive to be 20% fitter come the World Cup."
Ireland and England have both won their first two games of this year's Six Nations, and will meet in a possible title decider in Twickenham on St Patrick's Day.
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