Rugby Union

England stars enjoy game of water volleyball ahead of South Africa

Dylan Hartley, George Ford, Henry Slade and Co enjoy game of water volleyball as England squad relax ahead of South Africa clash

  • England are in Portugal enjoying some warm-weather training at present
  • They are based in Vilamoura ahead of November’s four autumn internationals
  • England play South Africa at Twickenham in Saturday’s first encounter 

England are less than 72 hours away from their opening autumn international against South Africa but that hasn’t stopped them trying their hand at another sport.

England are currently in Portugal as they train in a warm weather climate before coming against the Springboks in the first Test of their autumn international series.

And on Wednesday, Eddie Jones’ men took to the pool for a recovery session ahead of Saturday’s Test at Twickenham.

England players enjoyed a game of water volleyball at their base in Portugal on Wednesday

England players enjoyed a game of water volleyball at their base in Portugal on Wednesday

George Ford was among those who enjoyed the game
As did co-captain Dylan Hartley

George Ford (left) and Dylan Hartley were among those who enjoyed the game

Henry Slade (left) rises high to return the ball during the light-hearted activity

Henry Slade (left) rises high to return the ball during the light-hearted activity

Co-captain Dylan Hartley was among those present as he enjoyed a game of water volleyball.

The England hooker was joined by the likes of Henry Slade and George Ford as they enjoyed a light-hearted game at their Hilton Hotel base in Vilamoura.

Alec Hepburn and Zach Mercer were also present after being retained by Jones in his whittled down squad that was announced on Tuesday.

Stalwart full-back Mike Brown was sent home from the Algarve and back to his club, along with nine other players deemed surplus to requirements for Saturday’s opening Quilter International Test of the autumn series.

There were some notable shocks as Ben Morgan, the only remaining No 8 specialist, and new flanker Michael Rhodes – who appeared on course for an international debut against his home country, were also released.

As expected, Northampton lock Courtney Lawes has been deemed unavailable for the first of four matches at HQ next month, but he will stay with the squad here in Portugal to continue his rehab work, in a bid to shake off a back problem. 

Hartley rises high to spike the ball during Wedensday's recovery session at the Hilton Hotel

Hartley rises high to spike the ball during Wedensday’s recovery session at the Hilton Hotel

Charlie Ewels was a picture of concentration during the game at their Vilamoura base

Charlie Ewels was a picture of concentration during the game at their Vilamoura base

Zach Mercer has been retained by Eddie Jones after he whittled down his squad on Tuesday

Zach Mercer has been retained by Eddie Jones after he whittled down his squad on Tuesday

Alec Hepburn is another who is in contention to play a part against South Africa on Saturday

Alec Hepburn is another who is in contention to play a part against South Africa on Saturday

Mike Brown has been left out of an match-day squad by Jones for the first time when fit

Mike Brown has been left out of an match-day squad by Jones for the first time when fit

The 33-year-old Harlequins full-back  has been a stalwart of Jones's tenure with England

The 33-year-old Harlequins full-back has been a stalwart of Jones’s tenure with England

ENGLAND SQUAD IN FULL 

Forwards

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) co-captain, Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby), Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs) , Brad Shields (Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Elliott Stooke (Bath Rugby), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)

Backs

Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks), Danny Care (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens) co-captain, George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

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