International Rugby
Lancaster eyes 'new feel' to England camp
ESPNscrum Staff
January 4, 2012
Interim England coach Stuart Lancaster raises a smile, England press conference, Twickenham, England, December 8, 2011
Stuart Lancaster wants to create a 'new feel' to the England camp © Getty Images

England's interim coach Stuart Lancaster has gone back to basics by moving the squad's pre-Six Nations training camp from a resort in Portugal to Leeds.

Defending champions England will train at Lancaster's local club West Park Leeds RUFC and use the weights facilities at the Leeds Rugby Academy during their camp between January 23-27. England will still be based at Pennyhill Park hotel during the defence of their Six Nations title, which begins against Scotland at Murrayfield on February 4.

"There are a variety of reasons we wanted to use a different venue centred around wanting to keep the camp in this country," said Lancaster.

"The main objectives of the camp are to spend some time together, building the team, reviewing the World Cup but more importantly working together on setting our goals for the Six Nations and beyond and getting on the same page with our rugby game plan.

"By keeping it in England we can create a 'new' feel to the camp, in what is a new start. It will allow us to train in conditions that we will be facing up at Murrayfield, create opportunities for the team to stay connected with the public, and allow us to invite in one or two people from outside of rugby to help us shape our future.

"All the players have come through grassroots rugby and, with excellent facilities at West Park Leeds and the availability of local facilities and provision for poor weather options, Leeds was the best fit when we considered all the options.

"Hopefully it will also give a boost to rugby in the north and help in developing the game in the area."

Lancaster has invited Hugh Morris, the England cricket managing director, and British Cycling boss Dave Brailsford to address the squad on elite performance. The England rugby league captain Jamie Peacock and a British soldier have also been asked to speak on what it means to represent the country.

"This is an opportunity to bring people in from outside of rugby to talk to the players what it takes to be elite and what it means to play for England," Lancaster said. "We would find it difficult to bring those outside speakers in if we were abroad.

"One of the talks will be about how to create elite sport and we hope to have Dave Brailsford and Hugh Morris from cycling and cricket coming to that. The other will be about what it means to play for England and what it means to go and fight for your country, so we've got a guy who's been to war and Jamie Peacock, captain of the England rugby league team, who is a fantastic role model and highly respected in his code.

"Hopefully, it will help create that sense of 'this is a very privileged place to be'. What I'd like to is make sure we end up reconnecting with the game and part of this re-connection with the game, which I feel we've probably lost slightly, is by training in this country, possibly up north."

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