England players turn to yoga
England are going to great lengths to ensure they are prepared for anything France throw at them in Saturday's international at Craven Park.
Fresh from their high-altitude training camp in South Africa, Steve McNamara's men hit the ground running in the autumn internationals with an 80-12 rout of Wales last weekend.
And McNamara has kept his players on their toes for their latest challenge by getting experts to put them through a session of yoga at their Loughborough University training base.
"I'm always up for something different," said hooker or half-back Rob Burrow. "I've never really done it before.
"It's totally different to what I'm used to but it was good. You really feel the benefits of all the stretching, especially a couple of days after a game."
Burrow, who will win his 10th England cap against France, says the team are expecting a much sterner test after beginning the tournament with a 14-try stroll against the Welsh.
The French, who began their campaign with a 20-6 win over Wales in Lens 12 days ago, are dominated by players from Catalan Dragons, who finished fourth in Super League this year.
"The French are improving every year," said Burrow. "Super League is really benefiting them, certainly in the pack, where they've some really big, physical and dominant people.
"That's going to be an obvious part of their game but our big guys are up to the task.
"We're really looking forward to it. We were happy with our performance against Wales, but we need to raise the bar and keep improving as a team."
Burrow, 30, who spent four years in the international wilderness after being discarded following England's 2008 World Cup flop, is very much part of the scene once more after re-inventing himself as a hooker for his club.
Man of the match in Leeds' 2011 Grand Final triumph, he missed last year's Four Nations Series through injury, but was an obvious call-up this time after enjoying another impressive season with his home-town team.
The 5ft 5in Burrow still wears the number seven for the champions, but is their regular starting hooker, a role he is happy to play for England, even if it means playing second fiddle to specialist hookers James Roby or, this time, Michael McIlorum.
"I'm willing to play anywhere for England," he said. "I just want to be involved in the 17.
"To represent your country is an absolute honour. If I was picked at prop, I'd try and do my best at that.
"If I can play any role in this international side then I'm happy with that. Whether I start or come off bench, I'll do my best for the country."
Castleford coach Ian Millward, commentating for the BBC at Wrexham, told television viewers midway through the first half that Wales were suddenly about to find themselves in trouble, pointing to the introduction from the bench of the livewire Burrow, who duly pepped up the English attack.
"That's a nice compliment," said Burrow, who sees himself as an extra half-back rather than a back-up hooker.
"If I'm picked on the bench, my role is to lift the team with impact. My focus is to run at them and lift the pace of the game.
"I don't play like a hooker, I play like an extra half-back out there. I still see myself as a half-back."
England are to break with tradition by making Friday's final training session an open event.
The gates at Hull KR will be opened to the public from 9.30am and fans will be able to watch McNamara put his players through their paces before obtaining autographs afterwards.
Fewer than 1,000 tickets are left on sale for Saturday's match at Craven Park, where the capacity has been cut to just under 7,000 because of development work.
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