England kick off World Cup preparations
May 17, 2011
Hendre Fourie was among a number of players seconded by England this week © Getty Images
England have begun preparations for the Rugby World Cup with the first in a series of player camps at Twickenham.
There will be five get-togethers in total before warm-up clashes against Wales and Ireland in August, with the last on June 15.
The sessions are tailored for players who have finished their Aviva Premiership seasons or are on their way back from injury, with 'specific conditioning and rehabilitation' on the agenda.
Heading up the opening camp were Sale fly-half Charlie Hodgson and club team-mate Andrew Sheridan, Leeds flanker Hendre Fourie and Wasps duo Simon Shaw and Joe Simpson.
"We wanted to get the guys here in small groups to keep them going over the summer as we approach a crucial few months for this squad," England manager Martin Johnson said.
"Some of the players have finished their season already or have not had much game time due to injury so we want get their conditioning programmes right as we build up to the international against Wales here on August 6."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September