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Nov 17, 21

MAN vs. MACHINE: England Rugby prepare for South Africa with epic Tug of War against 8.5 tonne…..

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MAN vs. MACHINE: England Rugby prepare for South Africa with epic Tug of War against 8.5 tonne Dakar Rally legend

• The RFU enlisted Red Bull to create unique, gruelling training session centred around a 8.5 tonne Dakar competitor ahead of rematch against world champions South Africa
• Players faced with a number of stressful challenges to help cope with high pressure scenarios in big games
• You can watch ‘The Stress Test’ in full on Red Bull TV here.


17th November 2021, London: Today, Red Bull and England Rugby reveal ‘The Stress Test’, a short film documenting a unique and gruelling training session to help the team prepare for its rematch against world champions South Africa. The climax of the beasting involved all 28 players having a ‘Tug of War’ with an 8.5 tonne Dakar competitor, a legend of the sport capable of 1,150 brake horsepower.

The pressures of any elite sport aren’t experienced by many, let alone those associated with a playing at the very top level. After coming agonisingly close to tasting victory back in 2019, Eddie Jones’ men reported that the intensity was at a level incomparable to Test Series. To imitate such levels of stress – both physically and mentally – England Rugby has been working closely with Red Bull to prepare their players for the pressures and anxieties that come at the very highest level of the game.

Created to push Eddie Jones’ full squad physically and mentally, the unique session was devised ahead of the Autumn Internationals, during England’s training camp in Jersey. Designed through collaboration with the Head of Strength and Conditioning coach, Jon Clarke, the England squad battled against a vehicle supplied by Red Bull – weighing the equivalent to two adult elephants – testing both their problem solving skills and teamwork.

Designed to race overmountainous dunes and cavanous ravines during the gruelling two week Dakar championship, the Russian-born rally raid competitors – piloted by 2015 champion Airat Mardeev – was on hand to provide an unprecedented climax to lung bursting work out – a man vs. machine ‘Tug of War’.

Following the session, Mardeev said:

“It was a pleasure to be involved in this unique session. As a team, we’re always looking at ways we can innovate our training environment to stay ahead of the competition. Looking ahead to the 2021 Dakar, this will be no different. To work with Red Bull and England Rugby in this capacity was really interesting. Being prepared mentally is as important as training physically, so I have no doubt that training sessions like these will provide a positive benefit on the pitch.”

Jon Clarke, Head of Strength and Conditioning, commented:

“Controlling what happens between your ears can make the difference between winning and losing. With the help of Red Bull, we wanted to create a scenario where the players had to work as a team to solve problems in order to win within a pressurised environment. This camp in particular includes a number of new faces and personalities, so including this within our camp programme helps to bring the team together and creates an opportunity for individuals to understand how they will react on the big stage.”

The partnership between Red Bull and England Rugby, introduced in 2020, saw Red Bull become the official energy drink partner of the RFU. The partnership allows both the senior men’s team and Red Roses to utilise Red Bull products and equipment, with Red Bull Energy Drink provided to all senior teams for use during training and matchday.

Watch the England Rugby squad take on the Stress Test via the Red Bull TV here: http://www.redbull.co.uk/pro

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