Tough training ahead as Bath Rugby's Paul James named in Wales squad
Bath loosehead prop Paul James has been named in the 35-man Wales squad for the autumn internationals.
He is destined for an intense training camp in Poland under Wales coach Rob Howley.
The Polish trips – facilities at Spala and Gdansk have previously both been used to maximum effect – were crucial building blocks towards last year’s World Cup campaign and last season’s RBS 6 Nations tournament.
Wales enjoyed their best World Cup for 24 years, reaching the semi-finals, while the 2012 Six Nations success featured a third title and Grand Slam in eight seasons.
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Spala is the destination on this occasion as Wales interim head coach Howley builds towards an autumn campaign of Millennium Stadium appointments with Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia.
“Players love the results they get from Spala, but they hate it from minute to minute. It’s a unique place,” Howley said.
“If we stayed here at The Vale (Wales’ regular training venue), we would probably do eight to 10 sessions in a two-week period. Over in Spala, we could fit in 25 to 30.
“It gives us a huge uplift in terms of preparation, and preparation for international rugby is so important.
“There is no holding back in terms of our preparation and the way the players are able to put their bodies to the ultimate test.”
The Wales players will again use Spala’s cryotherapy chambers, state-of-the-art equipment that speeds up recovery time between training sessions, although Howley’s entire 35-man group will not be involved.
“The whole reason we are going to Spala next Saturday is about preparation and hopefully give us that edge, both physically and mentally,” added Howley.
Wales squad for autumn Tests against Argentina, Samoa, New Zealand and Australia – Backs: @L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), Liam Williams (Scarlets), A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), G North (Scarlets), H Robinson (Cardiff Blues), A Beck (Ospreys), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Scarlets), D Biggar (Ospreys), J Hook (Perpignan), R Priestland (Scarlets), T Knoyle (Scarlets), M Phillips (Bayonne), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues).
Forwards: S Andrews (Cardiff Blues), R Bevington (Ospreys), P James (Bath), A Jarvis (Ospreys), G Jenkins (Toulon), A Jones (Ospreys), R Hibbard (Ospreys), K Owens (Scarlets), M Rees (Scarlets), B Davies (Cardiff Blues), L Charteris (Perpignan), I Evans (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), R Jones (Ospreys), R McCusker (Scarlets), A Shingler (Scarlets), J Tipuric (Ospreys), J Turnbull (Scarlets), S Warburton (Cardiff Blues, capt).