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'Curry nearly had a panic attack. He thought they were running out of air'

By Ian Cameron
The England players were stuck for 90 minutes in the hotel elevator.

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England winger Jack Nowell has shed light on how exactly his fellow international teammates got stuck in an elevator in a London hotel for nearly an hour and half last week.

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Chelsea Fire Brigade had to be called put after the players found themselves stuck for 90 minutes in a lift at the Chelsea Harbour Hotel and Spa after going out for food.

The interior of the elevator got so hot that the players were forced to strip down to their underwear for a significant proportion of their unexpected incarceration. Courtney Lawes, Manu Tuilagi, Joe Marchant, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Will Stuart, Bevan Rodd and Tom Curry were among those that found themselves in the sticky situation, which ultimately saw the players forced to shed their clothes in a bid not to overheat.

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Jack Nowell, Ryan & Max on England Camp, Six Nations and Post Match Beers & Feeds | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 23
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Jack Nowell, Ryan & Max on England Camp, Six Nations and Post Match Beers & Feeds | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 23

“The boy got stuck in a lift in Chelsea Harbour last week, that was brutal,” Nowell told the RugbyPass Offload Podcast.  “Nine of them were stuck in the lift. We’d just gone out for food or something and we’d got back quite late.

“They weren’t nine of the small boys, they were nine pretty big lads. You’ve got Manu in there, Courtney, Dickie, Curry, Will Stuart and they were under the weight [elevator maximum lifting capacity], they said.

Bristol Bears prop Max Lahiff interjected: “They should have known they messed up. It’s not Noah’s Ark. It’s an elevator.”

“They got stuck in there and they were in there for about an hour and a half in the end.

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“They said it was like a sauna in there. It was like 90 degrees. And they couldn’t sit down either.

“They were like sardines stood up. Tom Curry nearly had a panic attack. It thought it was a vacuum or something. He thought they were going to run out of air.

“They were absolutely sweating in there. You saw the pictures. They were dripping with sweat.

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“They managed to prise one of the doors open a little bit and stick one of the boys’ flip flops in there, so they had a bit of a breeze come in.

“They called reception but the reception guy didn’t want to ring the firefighters, because it cost the hotel something. He said ‘I’ll just ring the engineer and get him out’. Remember, it’s like 10 pm at night, so the engineers probably tucked up in bed. So in the end they rang the SOS on Manu’s phone.

“They rang the police and who then rang the England security guy, who then rang the firefighters and stuff.

Despite the picture which would make you think they were on the way to the swimming, they had actually stripped off simply due to the heat. The player visited the Chelsea Fire Station the following day to offer their thanks and give them a jersey.

The incident evoked memories of a similar drama with Sale Sharks in 2016. Brian Mujati, Halani ‘Aulika, Mike Phillips and Johnny Leota were among a number of Sharks players that became stuck in a hotel lift, albeit their combined weight of 755kg was 120kg over the maximum limit on that occasion.

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