Warren Gatland reveals gruelling details of Wales’ Rugby World Cup training camp

Jared Wright
Wales head coach Warren Gatland has provided some gruelling details into what his Rugby World Cup squad has been up to in preparation for the tournament.

Warren Gatland is looking to turn Wales’ fortunes around ahead of the Rugby World Cup and is taking seemingly drastic measures to achieve an uptick in performances.

The Welsh squad visited The Green Mile, an army-style fitness camp, and faced physical and psychological challenges.

Gatland revealed some details from the experience, which ended with some beer and lunch, but the players were put through the wringer to earn it.

The Wales head coach revealed that players had been placed in hoods, drenched in water and subjected to the sound of babies crying.

Asked about how hard his players were working in preparation for the World Cup, he said: “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.

Green Mile visit

Commenting on the visit to The Green Mile, Gatland said that his players were put in uncomfortable situations to test how well they regain their composure.

“We went to The Green Mile with the army, and it was a brilliant day, but it wasn’t brutal,” he explained.

“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?”

He added: “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 were going off, and it wasn’t a full day.

“We went there in the morning and finished at 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.

Positive feedback

Gatland credits Wales’ head of physical performance Huw Bennett, who replaced Paul ‘Bobby’ Stridgeon after the Six Nations, for the idea to visit The Green Mile that the players enjoyed.

“Huw Bennett 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,” Gatland said.

“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.

“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. We’ve been working hard, but every day is not brutal, I can promise you that.”

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