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Saturday, November 10, 2012

A look at Wales' gruelling training camp in Poland

Wales host Argentina today in what will be the first of four end of year Tests for the Six Nations champions. While the tour of Australia didn't quite go to plan, they've been training harder than ever at the infamous Spala facility in Poland.

It's no secret that the Welsh squad have been using the slightly unorthodox training methods available to them at this camp for quite some time. The fitness of the Grand Slam champions shows and a lot of that is due to what goes on in Spala.

The Olympic Training Centre is considered one of the most advanced in Europe, with facilities such as an athletics stadium, indoor swimming pool, weights room, electrotherapy, physiotherapy, and magnetotherapy rooms, and of course the dreaded cryo-rehabilitation rooms.

Cryotherapy chambers have been described as human sized fridges that drop down to -160°C for top track and field athletes, who have been known to stay in there for up to five minutes at a time.

The Welsh squad go through the same thing, more than once a day, as they push their mind and body to places most will never experience.

"Spala is a fantastic and unique facility. It has given the players the opportunity to spend time together, they've bonded and enjoyed the experience," said coach Rob Howley.

"There's been a lot of banter, the team dynamics in professional sport are important and we have been impressed with the players. The team will benefit from Spala physically and mentally from the time we have spent together.

"The mantra of this national team over the last few years since the current coaching team has been together has been about hard work and this facility is unique in the way it allows you to do that"

Wales will play Argentina, followed by Samoa, then New Zealand and Australia.

Here is an excellent report from BBC's Scrum V which takes you deep into the training camp

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