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Hard work the key for England U20s in Portugal

13 December 2011

  • England U20s enjoying tough training camp in Portugal
  • It’s hard work but it’s extremely worthwhile – Clifford
England U20 training in Portugal

Photo: RFU Archive

Warmer weather, team bonding and hard work are just three of the reasons Rob Hunter’s England Under 20 side has jetted off to the warmer climes of Portugal for a weeklong training camp at Browns Leisure Club, near Vilamoura.

Harlequins back row Jack Clifford is new to the U20 set-up this season, and explains the benefit of coming out to the Portuguese resort:

“It’s good fun, it’s hard work, and it just provides an opportunity for the squad to get to know each other and to learn our plays ahead of what promises to be another exciting season."

Jack Clifford in action with England

Photo: Getty Images

The fomer England U18 man added: “It also gets us used to travelling as a team – we have three away games in this season’s 6 Nations which means a lot of flying and moving from hotel to hotel, so the earlier we can get used to that the better."

With just nine players from last year's highly successful U20 squad still elegible to play this time around, Clifford says that he’s aware of last season’s achievements and is hoping to build on them this year.

“I had a few friends playing in the U20s last season so I kept a pretty close eye on them,” he said. “They had a very good season but we have a new group this year and I hope that we can be even better.

Jack Nowell in action with England

Photo: Getty Images

"Obviously it’s great to have the likes of George Ford and Matt Kvesic in with us who have that experience of playing 20s last year – so that, coupled with the hunger of the new group, should bode pretty well.”

Full back Jack Nowell is another new addition to the squad, and he says that the continuity of playing alongside players he knows from the Under 18s is crucial:

“There’s quite a few of us here who played 18s last year and it’s always good to be play with people who know your game. I know that the 20s had a good time of it last season and our aim is to be even better," he said.

On the importance of the Portugal trip, Nowell added: “It’s great to be out here where it’s a bit warmer we can just get out there and play the type of rugby we want to be playing. The facilities are spot on, there’s been a lot of fitness and we’ve been working extremely hard – but that’s the way it should be!”