- England Women take to the wrestling mats for New Zealand preparation
- British champion Laura Jane Adams takes on England
Photo: RFU Archive
England Women experienced a new form of training today with British No-Gi Wrestling Submissions Champion Laura Jane Adams sharing her expertise at an England training camp.
Ahead of a three test series against world champions New Zealand this month, kicking off on Saturday at Twickenham Stadium 5pm, England are working hard on all areas of their game in a bid to topple the all-conquering Black Ferns. Not only are they putting in the hours on the rugby pitch and in the gym but they are also fine their work rate at the breakdown through wrestling.
With Saturday’s test match marking the first time the top two teams in international women’s rugby have met since the thrilling 2010 Rugby World Cup final, which New Zealand edged 13-10, everything is at stake for both teams.
"Basically what I have been teaching the players to do is execute a more efficient way of moving their bodies in the contact area," said Adams, who is also a coach for Premiership side Bristol Ladies.
"My speciality is grappling and destabilising my opponent so if I can teach the players to do that when they are in the breakdown/contact area and make them move their bodies more efficiently then England have the potential to get an advantage over New Zealand."
Graham Smith, England’s Assistant Coach and forwards specialist, added: "What we are trying to do through this session is to make the players more aware of how they can move their body, how they can make themselves a little bit stronger and at the same time unbalance an opponent as they try and win the ball in the collision areas.
"Anything a player can do to manage the game in the collision area is vital. The breakdown is an important area, especially concerning the control and discipline on the ball but also the breakdown in terms of managing width ball in the way we want to play. Against the world champions this is going to be top priority for us."
Wrestling is not the only form of non-rugby training England’s women have been undertaking, with the forwards most recently receiving expert guidance from former trampolining Olympian Jaime Moore and GB Trampolinist Coach Tracy Whittaker.
The idea behind this form of training was to improve the players’ body management in the air and their jumping techniques. It was also used to help develop their height and speed confidence in the air and their high hand skills such as catching and manipulation of the ball.
To watch England’s wrestling session check out Sky Sports Rugby Club on Thursday 8pm.
England Autumn International Series
Tickets for England Women v New Zealand Women at Twickenham on November 26 are available via RFU.com and group booking are available from the RFU by calling 0871 22 22 017, option 6. Prices range from £65 to £35. Junior tickets cost just £15.
Tickets for the international tests at Esher RFC on November 29 and December 3 will be available on the gate and cost £10 for adults and £5 for juniors. They can also be purchased in advance at www.esherrugby.com