England will move their pre-tournament training base ahead of the RBS 6 Nations to Leeds.
They will use facilities around the North Leeds area, including West Park Leeds RUFC – a Level 8 Yorkshire Division Two club – and weights facilities at the Leeds Rugby Academy at Kirkstall during their January 23-27 camp as they prepare to defend their RBS 6 Nations title. The area has recently hosted the England Under-17 and Under-18 squads.
England have spent their January training week in Portugal for the last three years and while they will still be based at Pennyhill, Surrey, during Test weeks, Head Coach Stuart Lancaster explained the change of venue for this particular five days.
“There are a variety of reasons we wanted to use a different venue centred around wanting to keep the camp in this country,” said Lancaster. “The main objectives of the camp are to spend some time together, building the team, reviewing the World Cup but more importantly working together on setting our goals for the Six Nations and beyond and getting on the same page with our rugby game plan.
“By keeping it in England we can create a “new” feel to the camp, in what is a new start. It will allow us to train in conditions that we will be facing up at Murrayfield, create opportunities for the team to stay connected with the public, and allow us to invite in one or two people from outside of rugby to help us shape our future.
“All the players have come through grassroots rugby and, with excellent facilities at West Park Leeds and the availability of local facilities and provision for poor weather options, Leeds was the best fit when we considered all the options. Hopefully it will also give a boost to rugby in the North and help in developing the game in the area.”