England turn to MMA ahead of the 2017 Six Nations

England turn to MMA ahead of the 2017 Six Nations

  • England rugby stars to work with MMA expert
  • Defence coach Paul Gustard believes MMA techniques applicable in rugby
  • ‘It’s helpful to see how they manipulate the body to get out of contact’
Having worked with judo coaches in the autumn, Eddie Jones has this time turned to a mixed martial arts expert ahead of the 2017 Six Nations.

The judo experiment proved controversial, with Sam Jones breaking his leg in a grapple with fellow forward Maro Itoje.

Defence coach Paul Gustard said: “It’s about improving certain aspects around the contact area, around the maul and about getting back to your feet post-tackle.

“It’s those sorts of skills that are innate in wrestling or a one-on-one combat sport and there are lots of things we can take from it.


“You always have to put it into the context of rugby, but it’s helpful to see how their bodies move and how they manipulate parts of the body to get out of contact.

“You see some things that you know won’t transfer and there are some that make you think how can we develop that, how can we explore that?

“It’s not just the tackle but also the system. Trying drills and trying games that I think might work and might illicit a certain response from the players or get a certain outcome.”

A depleted England side open their campaign at home to France in Twickenham, and they will be hoping their fighting spirit can get them over the line.

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