A Rugby World Cup is not simply six weeks of rugby, it is the end of months of preparation for the players, which can take a while to recover from.


After reaching the RWC final, there was always a great fear that many England players would be physically and emotionally drained upon returning from Japan, particularly after coming so close to winning the tournament.

Just as there can be a hangover period for players that win the RWC, the losing finalists can sometimes suffer even more.

The most promising thing for England fans then is seeing many of the players show no signs of struggling upon their return to action.

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Although a few players from Eddie Jones’ RWC squad had already returned, this weekend’s most recent round of Champions Cup fixtures saw a vast swathe of players play for the first time since losing to the Springboks.

World Rugby player of the year nominee Sale Sharks’ Tom Curry made his first appearance of the season against La Rochelle, while Elliot Daly made his debut for Saracens against Ospreys, where both received the man of the match award. Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell also received the same gong, as he was at his elusive best with ball in hand against Glasgow Warriors.


Nowell not only has had to contend with the fatigue from the RWC, but a troubled six months with injuries. His performance at Sandy Park, particularly in setting up England teammate Henry Slade’s try, was the quintessence of all that the winger does well.


These three players alone are an encouraging sign that the RWC did not take too great a toll on the players, and has only improved them if anything. Daly was able to show what a well-rounded player he is at Allianz Park, while Curry was everywhere against La Rochelle.


The Champions Cup is the closest club rugby gets to the international game, and England’s Jones will be pleased that there are no lingering effects on some of his players as he looks to the Six Nations.


Saracens have still withheld some of their players, as will all clubs in England throughout the season. The biggest fear in England and Wales (as they reached the bronze final), will be player burnout, but the players’ form does not look like it dropped.

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