Underhill relishing England intensity

Sam Underhill says the coaching sessions that take place at England training camps are the ideal preparation for their matches.

The 21-year-old Bath openside flanker received his international call up in the summer and made his England debut on the two-Test tour of Argentina

His performance in South America, as well as his club form for Bath, saw head coach Eddie Jones call him up again for the recent three-day training camp in Oxford.

“Our philosophy is if you train at the intensity, or a more intense level, than in a game then you’re going to be prepared for every eventuality when you are in that game,” said Underhill.

“I’ve only obviously experienced training in the summer on the Argentina tour but that was just as intense as it was in the games so when you’re in the match you kind of thought ‘well I’ve done this before.’

“Everything here is done to facilitate you being the best you can, from your nutrition to your sleep, to your timings to your kit, everything is there for you and all you have to do is go and apply yourself and get better.”

Tackle machine

Underhill moved to Bath from Pro 14 outfit Ospreys this summer after some impressive performances for the Welsh side over his two seasons with them.

The former England Under 18 captain began his career at Gloucester where he made two appearances before his move to Ospreys which he combined with studying an economics degree at Cardiff University.

Known for his specialist skills at flanker, Underhill says he found tackling in particular something that just came naturally to him.

“I’ve never really liked being taught how to tackle, no one has ever really took me aside and said ‘this is how you do it’”

“Some guys are really quick, I was never one of those guys, some guys are naturally very good with the ball, I probably wasn’t one of those guys, but then you realise you’re good at it then you look at it.

“In a game when there are some pretty big guys running at you with some pretty good feet it’s obviously difficult.

“You try and get your perfect technique and we look at it a fair bit. I’m an advocate of low key technique work. Your body gets used to moving in a certain way if you practice a lot of low key tackle technique – when you are actually in a game you’re probably going to transfer that.”

Form focused

As he settles into life at the Recreation Ground, Underhill knows he has his work cut out getting in the Bath team as well as competing for a place in the England squad.

Last season's England Under 20 captain Zach Mercer, South Africa international Francois Louw and Wales and Lions number eight Taulupe Faletau are just some of the names he is competing against to get into the Blue, Black and Whites back row. "We’ve really identified areas where we want to go as a side."

“What is important is your club form as you get picked here on the back of that and once you’re with England, you’re on England duty and you focus on that.

“On the back of the Ireland loss at the end of the Six Nations, two Test wins on the summer tour there are areas which we’ve seen which we can massively grow, especially with the new law changes.

“We’ve really identified areas where we want to go as a side and already shifted and started making those plans which is really exciting."


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