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05th Feb 2022

England fullback George Furbank on their gruelling Six Nations training sessions

Patrick McCarry

George Furbank

“I don’t know what we would have done if we could not have found another hotel.”

England fullback George Furbank laughs when he hears that Eddie Jones had secretly wanted his squad to go camping overnight in the Cotswolds, during their Six Nations preparations.

The England coach and his squad were left seeking new accommodation, during an intense training week, when a fire broke out near the hotel they were staying in. They eventually found other digs, but Jones does like when curve-balls are thrown at his team. To him, it builds character. Furbank enjoyed the mini drama too, as long as it ended with a night in a cosy bed.

These England training sessions, ahead of the championship, often push the lads to the limit. There are moments of rest and reflection, and guest speakers like Jessica Ennis Hill called in, but when it is time to work, the players are worked hard.

Furbank and Maro Itoje took responsibility for organising that talk with the former Olympic decathlon champ. It is another sign that the 25-year-old, despite only winning five Test caps to date, is stepping up within an evolving squad.

“There are a lot of younger guys coming in now, and I’ve been on a few camps. I’m probably one of the more experienced camp-goers!

“It’s nice to be in that situation, and offer stuff like that to the lads, but I’m obviously still learning stuff myself.”

George Furbank

George Furbank on England’s training regime and his match-week diet

The Northampton Saints star made his England debut in February 2020, at Stade de France. He has been an ever-present in squads since then and the 15 jersey is hotly contested by him and Leicester’s Freddie Steward.

Asked how his daily diet differs from what he eats on the eve of a big match, Furbank smiles. “The day before a game,” he says, “I see it as a bit of a free-for-all!

“Obviously, that is up to an extent. You’ve got to load up on carbs, mainly, and ideally good carbs. But I do like to treat myself the day before a game. You know that you’ll burn that off on game-day.”

Dinner the evening before a game

“The evening meal would be pasta based. Something like carbonara, spaghetti bolognese or lasagne. Something like that. A big hearty meal with a little bit of dessert to finish.”

Breakfast

“I’d call it a healthy fry-up, because it’s probably not fried in the slightest. At the start of the week, it will often be smoked salmon, eggs, toast, beans and spinach. Towards the back-end of the week, or on match-day, they might throw in a bit of bacon, to treat you.”

Lunch

“That tends to be a proper meal. It’s not like a sandwich or anything like that. Bit of chicken, some vegetables and carbs [usually rice or pasta]. The chef here is unbelievable, and he can make anything look and taste good!”

George Furbank

Furbank is not the only member of the England squad that loves his coffee. Not quite at barista level, like teammate Jamie George, but it is a treat he indulges in, on most days.

“I’m a big fan of coffee,” he says. “I try to limit myself to one or two a day. But, come game-day or the day before, I try to limit the amount of caffeine I have. A Red Bull might be there, during the week, if I’m ever feeling like I need a pick-me-up.”

When it comes to exercises that benefit back three players, Furbank says he often focuses on speed training and running mechanics, out on the field, and “acceleration stuff”.

In tandem with Red Bull, the lads underwent the punishing ‘Stress Test’ of training, slogging and decision-making while under duress and with their lungs searing. Once players had recovered from those sessions, those that wanted were invited to a track for dirt-biking and rips around on a quad.

George Furbank was speaking to JOE alongside Kyle Sinckler and Bevan Rodd as England underwent a unique training session with Red Bull to prepare for their opening Six Nations match against Scotland. More information on the Stress Test can be found here.

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