England had their resolve tested in a battling 2019 Guinness Six Nations campaign and their players had to show plenty of resilience once more when they took a trip into the woods on a secret survival course at RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall.
Instructors from the Defence Survive Evade Resist Extract Training Organisation at RAF St Mawgan put the players through their paces at an overnight training camp on the base with high ropes and surfing also on the menu.
Eddie Jones’ side, who were guided by experienced survival instructors and stripped of all methods of communicating with the outside world, had to build a shelter, start a fire to cook with and making a bed from whatever nature provided.
England fly-half George Ford said: “Just a huge thank you from us guys for letting us come down here and use your facilities.
“It’s been challenging, particularly last night, and stuff like this is great for us to take into what we’ve got coming up in the next few weeks.”
The testing experience served as the perfect opportunity for the 2019 Guinness Six Nations runners-up to bond as they seek to win back the title for the first time since 2017 next year.
Squadron Leader at RAF Brize Norton Nikki Lofthouse said: “It was an honour to be able to design and facilitate the invaluable training in leadership and team ethos to the England Rugby squad.
“The Royal Air Force has a wealth of experience in this area and delivers world-class training through our dedicated instructors and facilities.
“The Royal Air Force offers opportunities like no other and to be able to take this from initial concept through to delivery, working in partnership with England Rugby, is a great example of what you can do.
“The parallels that can be drawn between elite sport and military skills are many and opportunities like this provide a great mechanism to share best practice.”