- British Judo coaches to hold session with England players
- Jones looks to improve the side's 'grappling' in contact
England lock George Kruis says the squad are ready to embrace judo as they look to continually improve ahead of the Old Mutual Wealth Series this autumn.
The players will receive a judo session from British coaches JP Bell and Kate Howey on Monday as Head Coach Eddie Jones looks for ways to combat South Africa's physicality ahead of the opening series game on 12 November.
Jones has identified England's 'grappling' in contact as an area of improvement and Saracens forward Kruis says he can see the benefits in the session.
“It’s something new for us and keeps our minds entertained, there is going to be a purpose behind it,” said Kruis. “We want to improve and explore every avenue if it’s worth it.
“I’m not too familiar with the sport but if it keeps us entertained while we learn it and there is a point behind it I think it’s a good idea.”
'I nearly passed out'
Kruis says his experience of the sport is limited to garden sessions with his two elder brothers as a child while fellow England forward Mako Vunipola has less fond memories of the sport.
“It’s a bit of a killer really because the last time I did judo I nearly passed out,” said the Saracens prop.
“Judo is obviously very good for jackling, tackling and grappling. I last did it at an England Under 18 camp.
"All we had to do is roll back and forward, but I was heavier back then so by the seventh or eighth roll I nearly passed out so I had to go at my own pace. Judo is not really my game.”
Like Kruis, Northampton Saints forward Paul Hill can see the benefit and similarities between the two sports and is looking forward to the session with Bell and Howey on Monday during England's three-day training camp at Brighton College.
“I did a little bit of judo when I was 15,” said Hill.
“I did three sessions at Doncaster and I was pretty average. Sports can often learn off each other and you can see the similarities between the two such as clearing out at a ruck.
"It is a similar idea in that you are trying to use someone’s body weight against them so there can be links in that sense.”