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No Day Is the Same With the England Squad

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ENGLAND RUGBY KIT
PA

I've worked with the England team since September 2002 and am responsible for all matchday kit and training equipment that is used by the Elite Player Squad.

My role is essentially split into three parts. Firstly, I'm responsible for organising the kit requirements and orders at the start of each season and liaising with the kit suppliers. Secondly, I look after all kit and equipment for training during 'core time' - i.e. the QBE Internationals, RBS 6 Nations and summer tours. Finally, I'm responsible for all kit on match days.

No day is ever the same when you're with the England squad. During core time we are based at Pennyhill Park in Surreywhere the players use the training facilities between matches.We have more than three tonnes of equipment which is used for training. This covers everything from your standard tackle bags and scrum machines to the more advanced equipment such as C-Shaped rucking bags (which allow players to practice driving the opponent up and out of rucks) and Jackal bags (where balls can be attached in order for players to practice ripping the ball out in contact). The cameras from O2Inside Line recently came down to see the equipment first hand.

We provide each player in the EPS with 35 different items of equipment for their time with the group. This includes everything from training shorts and t-shirts to luggage, socks, bags, waterproofs and hoodies. The players are measured at the start of each season and items are then personalised with the players' initials, which is primarily to keep things organised when the laundry is done.

For a normal home fixture I'll arrive at Twickenham around 9am to begin setting up the team changing room. Each player gets two shirts, two pairs of shorts and two pairs of socks. The shirts are all short sleeved and embroided with the player's name, cap number, opposition and date.

There is also a Unique Number which identifies where the player sits chronologically in the all-time list of appearances. This was introduced by Stuart Lancaster to remind the players about the heritage of the team and that they belong to a special group to have represented their country. Also embroidered inside the sleeve is #EnglandConnected to reinforce the connection with the grassroots game.

In addition to the playing kit, each of the matchday 23 has a warm-up top and warm-up shorts. They are responsible for their own boots, gumshield, scrum caps and base layers.
The players arrive a couple of hours before kick-off and the changing room is quite a calm place. I'll be on hand if players need last minute boot polish, extra studs or just to help hand out fluids. After the warm-up we'll collect the training wear as the players get changed into their match shorts and jersey.

The squad leave the dressing room in the purple anthem jackets - another of Stuart Lancaster's introductions - which I'll then collect from the pitch after both national anthems and return them to the dressing room. It's always a bit of a rush to get back out to the bench to see kick-off!

During the match I'll be on hand if any jerseys are ripped or bloodied. I tend to be up and down at least 20 times, so you don't really take in everything that happens on the pitch. I'll generally watch the recording the day after the match so see exactly how the team played!

See Dave Tennison in this week's episode of O2 Inside Line, the behind the scenes show from O2 - proud sponsor of England rugby - and the RFU. Visit www.O2InsideLine.com

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