Warren Gatland revealed his side's unusual methods which he insisted aren't always "brutal"
Wales put players in hoods, threw water over them when they weren’t expecting it and subjected them to the sound of babies’ crying as part of their psychological preparation for the World Cup.
Warren Gatland revealed his side’s unusual methods after a trip to The Green Mile, an army-style fitness camp, but the head coach denied their intensive training sessions, with clips shared across the WRU’s social media in recent weeks, are always as “brutal” as many have dubbed them.
Gatland has lost several senior players with Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric and Rhys Webb retiring from internationals while just this week Six Nations captain and Rugby World columnist Ken Owens withdrew from the Wales Rugby World Cup squad with a back injury.
Gatland was asked how hard he is working the players and responded by saying: “Well, every time someone says that to me the headline seems to be ‘brutal this and that’ and I am going …they are tough but every training session is not brutal, every training session there might be an element of conditioning, fitness or power endurance – the boys are in the gym – and we are making sure we do our skill work.
“We went to the Green Mile with the army and it was a brilliant day but it wasn’t brutal. It was more from a psychological challenge that we put them through. They did some power endurance stuff, they were carrying logs uphill and then having to go into a pool. We were talking about putting them in uncomfortable positions, where ‘how do you bring your heart rate down? How do you get your composure back?
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“They did some stuff where we had them put in hoods, having water tipped over them when they weren’t expecting it. Babies crying, things going off, and it wasn’t a full day. We went there in the morning and finished about 1pm. The boys had a bit of lunch, we put some beers on – some had a beer and stayed there for about an hour and enjoyed each other’s company and had some laughs, had some photos with the guys, presented them with a jersey, it was a really good company that was a little bit different.
“Huw Bennett (head of physical performance) organised it and he was worried about how it was going to go, a bit apprehensive about the day but all the feedback we got from the players was really positive. It was different and made them think about things from a different perspective, in terms of being in stressful situations, being in a game where you don’t expect things and how do you react to that.
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“You make a mistake, you come under a huge amount of pressure, how do you get your composure back, trying to relate to those situations. Yeah we’ve been working hard but every day is not brutal, I can promise you that.”
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