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Fitness & Health

13th Dec 2018

Sam Underhill discusses pasta, pull-ups and side-stepping Beauden Barrett

During the recent Autumn Internationals, England Rugby flanker Sam Underhill firmly established himself as a key member of Eddie Jones' side

Alex Roberts

During the recent Autumn International series, Sam Underhill established himself as a key member of the England side

His performance against the All Blacks stood out in particular – turning Beauden Barrett inside out while also making 24 tackles.

JOE caught up with the Bath flanker who shared his favourite exercises, ideal post-match meal and the best piece of advice he’s ever received.

JOE: Can you describe side-stepping Beauden Barrett at the end of the game?

Sam Underhill: “That will probably never happen again! He wasn’t expecting it at all and I just saw an opportunity to side-step and throw him off the line.

“It was disappointing that the try was disallowed but the referee always has the final say. Regardless, I’m happy with my performance.”

What is your ideal post-match meal?

“It’s got to be spaghetti carbonara – it’s perfect for a big carb boost and energy reload after a tough game.”

A high-carbohydrate meal before and after a game and training facilitates faster recovery.

What are your favourite in-gym exercises?

“I tend to do a lot of compound exercises in the gym to work multiple muscle groups in one movement.

“I typically do a lot of squats and pull-ups, and I’ll do variations of the plank to work my core.”

Who in the England team can bench press the most?

“I think Brad Shields is definitely high up on that list! But it would probably be the big man, Kyle Sinckler who can bench press the most.”

Underhill’s England teammate Kyle Sinckler (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Who are the best players you’ve played with and against?

“I’m really lucky to be part of a fantastic team here at Bath Rugby and I’ve played with hugely talented guys as part of the England squad. It’s hard to pick certain players but I’d have to say that Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau and Owen Farrell are three standouts.

“There are so many outstanding players I’ve been up against as well. Kieran Read is a real force on the field, and the same with Michael Hooper and Michael Leitch.”

You made 24 tackles against New Zealand. How do you train for high level impact?

“Training for the tackle is like the tackle itself, so we do a lot of contact based-fitness and contact conditioning.

“It usually involves accelerations into contact over the space of a minute, repeated over and over again with rest in between.”

Underhill in training (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received – and who was it from?

“Pete Buxton once told me that if you have a successful career as a back row, you’re going to spend about 80% of your time feeling a little beaten up! Turns out he was right.”

Sam Underhill’s club side Bath take on the Bristol Bears in The Clash at Twickenham on Saturday 6th April 2019.

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