Performance nutritionist James Morehen breaks down the pre-game diet

In the world of rugby, where strength, endurance, and precision are paramount, the importance of nutrition cannot be overstated. As England’s rugby players gear up for a high-stakes World Cup match, their dietary choices play a pivotal role in ensuring peak performance on the field. Here’s what England players eat.

The day before the match, carbohydrates are a big focus to ensure optimal glycogen (energy) its stored in the muscles. Players focus on around 6g of carbohydrates per kg of body mass. For a 100kg player this is 600g or 12 jacket potato worth of carbohydrates. Of course, players don’t eat this amount of potato but you can now appreciate the total amount that is consumed.

Read more: England Rugby World Cup squad

What England players eat pre-game

On game day, the pre-match meal regimen for any rugby player is carefully orchestrated to provide a balanced mix of nutrients that fuel their bodies and minds for the intense battle ahead. A typical pre-World Cup match meal includes a combination of complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, vegetables, and hydration.

Carbohydrates take centre stage, they are the focus offering a sustainable source of energy. Whole grains like quinoa and brown rice, along with starchy vegetables, help top up glycogen stores and provide the necessary stamina for a gruelling and physical match. Lean proteins, such as chicken, turkey, and fish, are consumed but the focus protein normally comes after the match to support exercise and impact induced muscle damage.

Related: Fiji humble England at Twickenham in final World Cup warm-up

The inclusion of nutrient-rich vegetables ensures players receive essential vitamins and minerals, contributing to overall well-being and immune support. Hydration is prioritised to maintain optimal fluid balance and prevent the risk of dehydration, a performance-diminishing factor.

Timing is key, with players consuming their pre-match meal roughly 3-4 hours before kick-off. This allows ample time for digestion, avoiding discomfort while ensuring a readily available energy reserve. Players typically top up on any carbohydrates on arrival at the stadium via gels, bananas, carbohydrate based drinks etc.

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