England's fitness guru reveals why they looked 'TERRIBLE' recently

England’s fitness guru Aled Walters reveals why Steve Borthwick’s side looked ‘TERRIBLE’ during Rugby World Cup warm-up campaign as ‘beasting’ England stars has paid off

  • Walters has revealed why England struggled in their World Cup warm-ups 
  • The fitness guru described the warm-up campaign as ‘terrible’ 
  • However, he said that he had to push Borthwick’s squad into a ‘pre-season hole’ 
  • Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results

England’s fitness guru, Aled Walters, has revealed why the national team looked ‘terrible’ during their World Cup warm-up campaign – because he had pushed them into a pre-season hole.

The Welshman who masterminded South Africa’s rise to a thunderous peak at the last World Cup is now attempting to orchestrate a repeat process with Steve Borthwick’s national team. But such was the tight time-frame he had to work with, Walters had to explain the need for short-term pain – both physically and in terms of the performances and results last month.

There were three defeats in their four preparatory fixtures before this tournament and England appeared sluggish. Now, in the aftermath of a promising victory over Argentina to launch their campaign here, Walters delivered an explanation for the stodgy, low-energy August efforts.

‘With the crash course we were on, we couldn’t afford to row back early,’ he said. ‘We just didn’t have enough prep done to be able to do that. So yeah, we looked leggy, but I’m glad we looked leggy because if we didn’t leggy in the August Tests, we wouldn’t have done enough. That’s really it.

‘It was actually quite amusing, seeing… (the reaction). People on the outside being critical – I get it. Look, people are going to be worried. They were thinking, “There’s a World Cup round the corner and they look terrible. They don’t look fit. They’re lacking energy”. But we knew exactly what was coming and the players did as well.

Aled Walters (left) revealed why England looked ‘terrible’ during their World Cup warm-ups

Walters is glad England looked leggy because if they didn’t, they wouldn’t have done enough

The fitness guru lifted the lid on ‘beasting’ England’s players, making them ‘uncomfortable’

‘In the Ireland week, and you might think this is the most ridiculous thing to do, we more or less played a game on the Tuesday before we played Ireland on the Saturday. Do you get confidence from that? Yes. We lost, but we went to one of the hardest places to go to.

‘To get someone fitter, you almost have to dig them into a hole first to allow them to come out stronger. What we’ve done is put them into such a hole in pre-season that they’ll only reap the rewards of that work. We saw the start of it against Argentina. The fresher they get now, the stronger they’ll be.’

Walters is an energetic and enthusiastic presence in the England camp. His voice booms out at the training ground when he is putting the squad through fitness drills. There are plenty of jokes among the serious messages. ‘I’m hard, because I know where we have to build to,’ he said. But I need to smile and I get energy from people laughing and smiling a lot. They always respond well to the general taking the p**s out of someone – a targeting.’

He claims that ‘no-one is safe’ and that even applies to Borthwick, his boss. ‘He has always given me licence to do whatever I feel is needed,’ said Walters. ‘A couple of times, I think he feels I have sabotaged his meetings by shouting out random crap.’

So when it comes to beasting players, what are his methods of choice? ‘It depends what they are weakest at,’ he said. ‘It’s anything that gets them into the dark, where they get really uncomfortable.’

England were certainly in the dark last month. Now, thanks to the foundations put in place by Walters, they might just be emerging into the light.

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