Worcester Warriors will be taking to the high seas as they map out a successful course in the choppy waters of the RFU Championship play-offs – with the players set for a gruelling training camp based on the Royal Navy’s famous flagship aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal.
Head Coach Richard Hill and his backroom team have this week taken the Warriors squad away from familiar surroundings for an intensive three-day camp in Portsmouth – that will see the players stay and undertake theory meetings on the famous ship.
The team will also be put through its paces at HMS Temeraire – that houses the Royal Navy School of Physical Training – during a camp that Hill believes will be hugely beneficial ahead of the opening fixture in the play-offs at Bristol Rugby on March 13.
“I want an environment where I can trap them for 24 hours a day and really focus everyone on the play-offs and nothing else,” said Hill.
“This is a great opportunity for us to reflect on what has happened so far and look ahead to really plan how we are going to tackle these play-offs. We will analyse the three teams we are going to face in these six games and when we come away from the camp we will be quite clear how we are going to play against each opponent.
“I can put lots of theory meetings in and there are no distractions – they are on a ship so they can’t even go off board unless they have got a pass.
“There will be theory and lots of practical organisation with some team building too – it will serve the purpose we want as we look to plan meticulously.”
Hill, who organised the camp through Chris Alcock at the Royal Navy Rugby Union, also believes a change of environment will help the players raise the bar even further.
“It will be tough and intensive. It’s no holiday camp and once they see the accommodation they will know it is not a five star hotel,” said Hill.
“It wouldn’t have been any good for us to get on a plane and go to La Manga or something like that. That is not what we are after. It is a coach down to Portsmouth and straight into the dockyards. I’ve even got a task for the players to do on the bus on the way down – there is no let up.
“It is off-site and players always seem to work harder away from the usual surroundings. When we went to Malvern College to train a few weeks ago you could see the players were stimulated by a different environment.
“The whole camp smells of training hard and I am sure that Phil Davies and I will get even more out of them from going down to Portsmouth.”