Day of the Jackal for England as new defence coach John Mitchell uses dummies to replicate ruck scenarios ahead of Autumn Internationals
- England’s forwards took part in ‘Jackal’ drills during training camp in Portugal
- The exercise was overseen by England’s new defence coach John Mitchell
- Mitchell tried to replicate a ruck situation using a dummy in prone position
- England are training on the Algarve ahead of their Autumn Internationals
- South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia await next month
With South Africa, New Zealand and Australia lying in wait in the Autumn Internationals, England will be desperate to avoid being left looking like dummies.
But they weren’t afraid to use them in their training camp in Portugal this week as Eddie Jones tries to identify the marginal gains that could carry them to victory.
The dummies were used by forwards under the supervision of new defence coach John Mitchell as he sought to replicate a ruck situation to concentrate on the defender’s key duties.
England’s Brad Shields gets to grips with a dummy during training in Vilamoura, Portugal
Sam Underhill takes part in the training drill introduced by new defence coach John Mitchell
England forwards doing jackal drills with John Mitchell this morning. pic.twitter.com/qzKITxeesl
As part of the drill, the dummy is used to replicate a player falling forward with the ball in front of them after a tackle.
The defensive player is required to adopt a ‘jackal’ positon with knees bent, back arched and wrap their arms around the prone player’s chest as if to demonstrate to the referee that the ball is not being released, or in a bid to slow down play.
The forward is then seen moving on to the next part of the exercise involving an inflatable gym ball, which is rolled towards them and intercepted with the same body position.
The training ground drill involved England’s players doing a push-up, grabbing the dummy and then intercepting an inflatable gym ball
The players adopt a ‘Jackal’ position as they try to simulate the rucks seen during games
The drill used a specialised piece of equipment to replicate an opponent prone on the turf
The specialised black dummy equipment perfectly replicates the prone position of an opposing player during that particular passage of play.
England will be based in Vilamoura, on the Algarve, until next Thursday when they will fly home for their Autumn opener against the Springboks two days later.
All 36 players involved in the training camp were fit to train on Friday and there was not only gym and defensive work, but also sprint training.
England are currently in Vilamoura, Portugal training ahead of their autumn Tests
The backs were put through their paces by speed specialist John Dodoo on Friday
The players carried wooden poles above their heads as they did high-step shuttles
Zach Mercer (front) and Mark Wilson go through some resistance training during the session
Sale wing Chris Ashton (right) pops the ball off to Henry Slade on the loop-around
All at Twickenham and 3pm kick-offs
November 3 South Africa
November 10 New Zealand
November 17 Japan
November 24 Australia
England have employed a new sprint coach in Jonas Dodoo and the speed specialist, who works as a consultant to football and rugby teams, put the backs through a series of drils while Jones and senior coaches watched on.
The players carried wooden poles above their heads as they did high-step shuttles, before hopping between lines of cones, with Dodoo joking that some of them resembled dolphins.
Though skies were overcast during training in Vilamoura, Jones wishes to hold warm weather training camps as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for next year’s World Cup in Japan.
The squad will spent two spells in Treviso, Italy, each lasting between eight and 10 days, in July and August next year.
They face Tonga in their World Cup opener in Sapporo on September 22.
England’s backs then split off: (L-R) Jonny May, Ben Youngs, George Ford and Ben Te’o
Owen Farrell, England’s co-captain for the autumn, ships the ball off to a team-mate
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