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The French connection

From Bod’s hat-trick to Sexton’s drop-goal, no opponent has defined this Irish rugby century quite like France

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'We just saw Kyle at the door going, no, you're not leaving'

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

Freddie Steward has revealed some brilliant behind the scenes insight into life in England camp this season, naming the players whose recovery habits have most caught his eye and why some others are sleeping with tape over their mouths. The 21-year-old Test level newcomer wrapped up his first-ever Guinness Six Nations campaign last weekend with a try-scoring effort in Paris.


He has since made an illuminating appearance on RugbyPass Offload where co-host Max Lahiff, the Bristol prop, managed to get some intriguing answers from Steward, who made his England debut last July and has now made ten consecutive starts.

Lahiff wanted to know was there anyone with England where Steward had gone “that guy is absolutely obsessed with his craft” when it came to looking after their bodies? The youngster responded with three names.

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Freddie Steward | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 26
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Freddie Steward | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 26

“Fordy [George Ford] who I am with at Leicester with is an absolute professional with his recovery, his training review, stuff like that. I saw a bit of that again (with England). Sinks [Kyle Sinckler] is brilliant, he is always working hard, getting his body fixed. With his recovery he is unbelievable.

“And then Jonny Hill as well. I remember in autumn, they have got like a cryo-chamber. So I have learned a lot, not just rugby stuff but actually recovery and how important it is to get yourself right.”


Knowing Sinckler as a teammate from Bristol, Lahiff then asked had the England tighthead locked Steward in the sauna room yet? “Yes, oh yeah. We were in the steam room in Paris. I think that I was with Nic Dolly and we got up to leave and then we just saw Kyle at the door going like that, ‘no, you’re not leaving’,” replied Steward.


The conversation then went a bit weird, Lahiff mentioning that he heard Dolly was “a mad purist” with some of his recovery stuff as well. “Yeah, he is,” confirmed Steward.

“He actually sleeps with tape over his mouth because apparently there is a science about nasal breathing. It’s like a sticky strip and you pop it over (your mouth). Will Stuart started that as well in camp because he is a big snorer. I roomed with him in autumn and honestly, it was mental. I had to get earbuds.”

Explaining the science, Lahiff added: “Breathing through your nose increases nitric oxide and is more relaxing and stuff, it’s just physiologically more holistic for you.”


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