Ahead of the monumental match between England and Scotland in the Six Nations tournament, we caught up with some of the key players, Jonathan Joseph, Maro Itoje and Harry Williams about what it’s like to train for their country, and their new Canterbury rugby kit
What’s it been like training for the six nations?
Jonathan Joseph It’s good; it’s intense. We know what to expect when we come into camp. Training has been full on, and the boys are putting in the work behind the scenes. This is why we’re doing so well.
How often do you train a week?
Jonathan Joseph: On Monday, there’ll be a gym session, a rugby session and a little unit session. On Tuesday would be gym again and a big rugby session, so it’s a big physical day.
Wednesday would be recovery day. We use the pool, physio, we get treatment.
Thursday is our fast day. We have a forty minute session where we put our attack to the test and really go quite quick.
Friday is a team one which is a bit lighter and we make sure we’re all clear on what we’re going to do on Saturday – game day!
What are your recovery days like?
Harry Williams: We get the option of three things: massage, a pool session, or mobility, stretching and flexibility work. You usually get the afternoon to yourself. It’s very important to have some time to yourself to relax and take it easy.
Do you have a way of getting motivated before the game?
Maro Itoje: It’s easy to get motivated. If you need something to motivate you, you probably shouldn’t be in the environment in the first place.
Do you get competitive with each other?
We’re all competitive players. We’re competitive with each other whether we’re in the gym or on the field – it’s never easy – we’re always pushing each other. Everyone wants to strive to get better.
Jonathan Joseph: There are times when we have to be competitive with each other. I guess it brings out the best in everyone and each player looking to impress the coaches.
Do you help each other out with training?
Maro Itoje: I think you should leave that to the coaches. We’re in an awesome environment to get better. The coaches, the staff put everything out for you. It’s a great environment to get better and improve.
Is there a team that you most look forward to playing?
Harry Williams: No. Every game in the six nations is very special. There’s a lot of long standing rivalries, and a sense of tradition around the tournament. But the team we look forward to playing is always the one we’re about to play, which in this case is Scotland.
Have there been any changes to the way you train?
Maro Itoje: There haven’t been many changes. For each player there’s been a clear direction of what needs to be done and what needs to get better and what you need to work on. If you want to improve at something you need consistency. If you’re chopping and changing all the time it may not prove to be that beneficial.
What’s your nutrition plan like during this time?
Maro Itoje: We have three main meals, and have snacks in between those meals. In the morning we have breakfast, and then do a weights session and have protein bars afterwards.
Do you have a favourite meal that you feel gets you through a session?
Harry Williams: Spaghetti bolognese. Tried and tested.
Jonathan Joseph: Someone always says spaghetti bolognese, or lasagne…
Harry Williams: Actually, it isn’t that: I make a thing called chicken Florentine. It’s a kind of sun dried tomato creamy pasta with chicken and sometimes sausages.
Maro Itoje: I’m not really superstitious with anything like that. As long as it has the right amount of carbs and vegetables and it tastes good, I’ll eat it.
How are you guys enjoying your new Canterbury rugby gear?
Maro Itoje: I absolutely love it.
Jonathan Joseph: The leisure wear is very comfy during long flights to Argentina or New Zealand. And kit wise, the match day shirt is extremely comfy and very robust – and it’s tight so defenders find it harder to get hold of you.
Harry Williams: It’s tight in all the right places. It’s tight but flattering – for most people.