South Africa benefit from termination of England's world cup dream

Arnold Schwarzenegger provides one of the quotes inscribed on the walls of England’s state of the art training centre now being occupied by South Africa.

The Springboks have moved into the luxurious surroundings of Pennyhill Park in preparation for Saturday’s quarter-final against Wales and are benefiting from the artificial pitch and high performance centre built by the Rugby Football Union.

The interior of the facility has been kept a closely-guarded secret by England, but details have emerged of a gym equipped to the highest specifications including Red Rose-embossed dumbbells weighing up to 85kgs, a hi-tech sledge pushing machine and a row of Smith exercise machines.

A 40m x 40m artificial indoor playing surface is flanked by a line of enormous punch bags, while dominating one wall of the changing room is a giant TV screen.

Inspirational quotes decorate the walls of the building, although these are believed to have been covered up in anticipation of South Africa’s arrival.

Schwarzenegger is the origin of one, saying: “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

It was hoped the facility, opened in May last year, would aid England’s quest to be crowned champions of their own World Cup, but instead they have failed to qualify for the knockout phase for the first time.

South Africa now have full use of the training base reported to have cost the RFU £3million, while England lick their wounds over their tournament demise that was sealed after a mere 16 days.

“There is irony in us being here and using their training base,” veteran South Africa flanker Schalk Burger said.

“Unfortunately for them they are not here to use the facility for the full duration of the competition, but that’s life and we are happy to take the facility and make full use of it

“Some of the guys who do gym have been doing weights in the building and they say it’s an unbelievable experience.

“It’s an incredible place. The media centre is pretty much bigger than my local club back home. It’s unbelievable.

“The field is lovely and the weather is playing its part so far in England. The rooms in the hotel are also really nice.

“All the waiters and hotel staff seem to be South African. I have met about four – I think the English staff have gone on leave!”

More on this topic

Jacob Stockdale hoping for more good memories of Twickenham in bid for World Cup placeJacob Stockdale hoping for more good memories of Twickenham in bid for World Cup place

WADA compliments Rugby World Cup for zero failed drug tests

Stuart Lancaster steps down as England head coach 'by mutual consent'Stuart Lancaster steps down as England head coach 'by mutual consent'

VIDEO: Why the Rugby World Cup 2015 was the greatest rugby tournament everVIDEO: Why the Rugby World Cup 2015 was the greatest rugby tournament ever

More in this Section

England facing backlash after announcing 8pm start for autumn Argentina clashEngland facing backlash after announcing 8pm start for autumn Argentina clash

Storm Jorge threatens Harty Cup final re-fixtureStorm Jorge threatens Harty Cup final re-fixture

Blackrock College triumph over Clongowes Wood to reach Leinster Schools Junior Cup semi-finalBlackrock College triumph over Clongowes Wood to reach Leinster Schools Junior Cup semi-final

Italy’s Gagli and Molinari reinstated in Oman Open field after coronavirus testItaly’s Gagli and Molinari reinstated in Oman Open field after coronavirus test


Lifestyle

Hannah Stephenson seeks expert advice on how we can dig into the benefits nature offers our wellbeing.How to grow your own mindfulness comfort zone

Kerry was my first taste of freedom. My parents left me with my aunty from the age of nine. My son is nine now, but the Irish college is gone, the shop is closed, and the once bustling church looks sad, like a forgotten song.Secret Diary of an Irish Teacher: a nostalgic night in Kerry

Posh Cork's agony aunt: sorting out Cork people for ages.Ask Audrey: Why aren't William and Kate coming to Cork?

Festival season approaches, legends come to the Opera House, and a young Irish phenomenon continues to impact on UK telly, writes Arts Editor Des O'Driscoll.Scene and Heard: 'the major voice of a generation'

More From The Irish Examiner