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England hope a 'pretty cool' cider night can help against Ireland

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

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England are hoping that a cider tasting session that involved exercises with a communications expert can help them get the better of Ireland in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations round four meeting at Twickenham. A 25-man training squad spent last week in Bristol and it was there that they headed out after training for some organised bonding over drinks as well as some team-building exercises away from their regular rugby environment. 

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This weekend’s showdown in London with the Irish is effectively a title eliminator as both teams come into the match having won two and lost one of their three games so far. England are now back at the traditional Pennyhill Park base getting ready for that Six Nations encounter with a larger squad than they had with them in Bristol.  

Lock Charlie Ewels, a starter in the recent wins over Italy and Wales, has now explained how these shared moments away from the pitch – like what took place in Bristol – are important in helping England perform to their best and he is hopeful that the benefits of their bonding activities can get over the line in what is set to be a tight and tense affair against Ireland.    

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Appearing in the latest episode of O2 Inside Line | The Next Level, the weekly documentary series that gives fans access to behind the scenes footage of the England camp, Ewels explained: “So we went to a cider factory at the start of the week after training, had a look around at how they do things, had a tasting session, got to make our own ciders which was pretty cool. 

“We had a communications expert come in and do help with our communication although it ended up being a bit of a stitch-up for me because I was sat at the front next to her and ended up leading on one of the activities. It was like a clapping exercise… and it became ‘Ewelsee’. 

“The quality of Test rugby is so high now and the quality of the Six Nations is so high that the amount of times that you see games being won by one-score margins or by one moment in matches, those moments can be a number of things and often the team that has the most trust in each other or in the system and what they are trying to do can, when things get tough, come tighter together and be a tighter unit.

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“Those are often the teams that are then successful and go on to win those really, really tight games so that is why such an emphasis gets placed on that. The rugby stuff in this environment is as good as you are going to get in the world in terms of the facilities, the coaches, how we are trying to push stuff, all of those things, but actually sometimes it’s those moments away from rugby that can be the deciding factors in Test matches.” 

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