England forwards coach says return to contact training will take ‘a bit of time’

England forwards coach Matt Proudfoot is coming to terms with specific issues concerning contact-training as the Rugby Football Union continues to plot a route out of the coronavirus crisis.

Proudfoot, who masterminded the Springboks’ World Cup final demolition of England before joining up with Eddie Jones’ squad, is currently in his native South Africa where he is linking up with his new charges through social media.

The inability to maintain tough physical training during the lockdown presents a particular problem for forwards, and Proudfoot admits it may take “a bit of time” before they are able to restore themselves to full capacity.

England v Australia – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Quarter Final – Oita Stadium
England v Australia – 2019 Rugby World Cup – Quarter Final – Oita Stadium

Proudfoot said: “Our strength and conditioning guys have been in contact with the players and clubs, and tried to formulate a process that is best suited to the individual.

“Rather than a generic programme that most teams would follow, we’ve tried to look at the player from an holistic point of view – where could we improve him in his home environment where we couldn’t have improved him in camp.

“Contact training is something that is going to take a bit of time. Once we can start training in smaller groups and institute smaller group situations, things can start to change a little bit.”

Eddie Jones
Eddie Jones

Stepping into the England set-up for the first time for this year’s aborted Six Nations, Proudfoot says he has noticed fundamental differences in the approach of his former employees and England coach Eddie Jones.

“What’s been very different for me is the way Eddie produces his system,” added Proudfoot. “It’s very much about wanting to build the best environment and he pushes every part of the department to be the best they can be.

“His preparation is exceptional – how holistically he prepares a team – where the Springbok side really just focused on what their model was. It’s been an eye-opener for me and a process I’ve had to learn and grow.”