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Royal Marines put Exeter Chiefs rugby stars through gruelling commando tests

22 July 2022
Premiership rugby players from Exeter Chiefs have experienced gruelling Royal Marines Commando training as part of their preparations for the new season.

Chiefs stars were put through their paces at Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, taking on assault courses and endurance tests as well as intensive swimming and gym sessions. 

It was just a flavour of what recruits go through during their 32-week journey to become fully-fledged Royal Marines Commandos and earn their coveted green beret. 

Chiefs head of strength and conditioning, Mark Twiggs, a former Royal Marine physical training instructor, was delighted with the effort, commitment and performance put in by the entire squad.

“We wanted to test the boys in a different environment and it’s been a while since we’ve come down to CTC and worked with the marines on something like this,” he said. 

“What we’ve seen from the guys, both individually and collectively, was outstanding and it’s sure to set the foundations for what we believe will be a very strong pre-season programme.

“At the same time, I wish to thank Capt Pete Taylor, Sgt Al Gasson, together with Chief of Staff, Lt Col Tom Evans-Jones and all the PTIs at the Commando Training Centre for their support throughout the two days.

“Everyone knows the link between ourselves at the Royal Marines is very strong, but this has merely helped to galvanise that bond even further.” 

For Chiefs players it was an opportunity to gain an insight into what it takes to become a commando while completing gruelling pre-season training before the season gets underway in September. 

Building on the already strong links between the club and the Royal Marines, the squad reported for duty on Monday for the start of two-days intense training, all of which was aimed at not only testing their physical capabilities, but also their mental capabilities, both individually and collectively.

Day one started with work within the gym and swimming pool, but was then followed by tackling the notorious Bottom Field – a series of Commando tests (Assault Course, 200 metre Carry, plus Rope Regain) all of which are aimed to test the body to it’s very limit.

There was to be no let-up on Day Two for the Chiefs squad, who again following an early morning gym session at the club were then dispatched to Woodbury Common to undergo the Marines Endurance course.

An initial two-mile, cross-country course through rugged terrain and water obstacles, the squad were then put into teams to run the four miles back to Lympstone with a laden stretcher.

A brief respite, which included a leadership talk from Major Matt Gray, was then followed by another swim session and onto the last of the training tasks, the strength-sapping Mud Run in the nearby Exe Estuary.

With energy at a premium at this stage, the Chiefs had to dig deep in a series of tasks that included crawling, pushing and carrying through the thick mud.

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