England rugby stars defy UK heatwave as they undertake training in baked London with Chris Ashton returning
- Eddie Jones ran his 44-man England squad through their paces on Saturday
- The England team are undertaking a pre-season training weekend in Teddington
- Chris Ashton pictured taking part in his first England training session since 2016
England players got their preparations for the rugby season underway amid baking hot temperatures in London as Eddie Jones ran a 44-man squad through their paces on Saturday.
With the mercury set to hit 30 degrees Celsius over the weekend, what was already set to be an intense three-day training camp became that much harder for Dylan Hartley and his team-mates.
The temperature would not have been a concern for Chris Ashton, who would have been focussed on impressing in what represented his first England training session since 2016.
Chris Ashton makes his way onto the training pitch with Joe Cokanasiga on Saturday
Joe Launchbury competes in England training as part of a pre-season camp in Teddington
England captain Dylan Hartley trains with the squad at the Lensbury Hotel on Saturday
Chris Robshaw pictured with the England squad as they train in a sun-drenched west London
The 31-year-old was invited back into the set-up after returning to the Premiership from French side Toulon with Jones saying his move to Sale Sharks proved he had ‘the right attitude’.
Although he has not played for his country since 2014, Ashton clearly caught the eye of Jones when breaking the Top 14 try-scoring record last season. He also scored a hat-trick for the Barbarians against England at Twickenham in May.
Another notable participant in Saturday’s training session was Danny Cirpriani. The 30-year-old fly half also found himself out of favour under the Jones regime, but earned a shot at redemption in that same match against the Barbarians.
Cipriani then starred in England’s 25-10 win over South Africa in June, which helped avoid a whitewash in the three-match series after they lost the opening two games. He now has a good chance of making it into Jones’s World Cup squad next year.
Danny Cipriani gets to grips with England life again as he trains with a weighted medicine ball
Joel Kpoku braces himself for a collision as he trains with the England rugby team on Saturday
Head coach Eddie Jones directs his squad through a training session at their pre-season camp
England fans would have welcomed the sight of Hartley taking part in full training as he prepares for his comeback from concussion. The hooker has not played since March and missed the tour of South Africa following advice from experts.
His problems with concussion lead to speculation that he may have to bring an end to his career, but, speaking on the announcement of his squad, Jones was upbeat on the condition of his captain.
Jones said: ‘He’s had a good period with Northampton and he’s back on the field training. He’s not getting any symptoms of his problem with concussion so everything is progressing well.’
England will spend Sunday and Monday at the Lensbury Hotel in Teddington and go through tactical instructions as well as media commitments alongside physical training.
An overview of the facilities at the Lensbury Hotel in Teddington where England are staying