The arduous regime appeared to pay off at the world cup last year, which saw the team excel in every way and come tantalisingly close to beating Australia in the semi-final.
Spala is like no other training facility. As if 14 hours a day of solid athletic training isn’t enough, the players are also required to face dangerously low temperatures during cryotherapy sessions. Cryotherapy chambers, or ‘evil saunas’ as dubbed by former Captain Sam Warburton, are designed to speed up the recovery process of injured athletes.
The chambers are cooled with liquid nitrogen to temperatures as low as -110 degrees C and split into two sections. The first is warmer than the second and designed to acclimatise the user before they enter the main chamber.
The players must enter in only a bathing costume and special frostbite-preventive socks. They are required to stay for 3 minutes, taking care not to sit down in case they sustain cold burns.
The low temperatures are designed to encourage the release of endorphins and help with pain relief. Cryotherapy is said to offer both immediate and long-term benefits over a wide range of illnesses and injuries.
Shane Williams, who used the chambers a number or times throughout his successful rugby career, told the Telegraph: “You keep talking to each other but it’s very difficult and in that temperature you lose concentration and find yourself talking nonsense half the time.”
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