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Warriors turn to life in the freezer
9:37am Saturday 22nd February 2014 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
WORCESTER Warriors have been exposing their players to temperatures of minus 130 degrees celsius in a bid to gain the edge over Sale Sharks today (2pm).
The Sixways squad have left no stone unturned in their quest to be at the peak of their powers for the crucial Aviva Premiership clash.
Director of rugby Dean Ryan has continually highlighted the relative lack of strength in depth in his squad and the pitfalls of calling on the same players every week.
As part of their training regime this week, players have undergone cryotherapy, which has seen them spend small periods of time in a freezing chamber, with temperatures dipping as low as minus 130 degrees, to increase the recovery process.
It was a technique trumpeted as one of the chief reasons behind Wales' run to the Rugby World Cup semi-final in 2011.
Warriors are now hoping it will have the same effect on them in their battle for survival in the top-flight.
Captain Jonathan Thomas explained: “It shocks your body to produce more blood into the muscles and quickens recovery.
"In a week where we're wanting to be fresh for a very important match it gives you that edge and boosts recovery.
"I've had it before with Wales and they've had some outstanding results with it. Going into the 2011 World Cup there was a real feeling that gave the lads the edge going into that tournament."
He continued: "It's not pleasant, you're wearing a hat and gloves and boxer shorts. You are only in there for two minutes but you couldn't last longer than that.
"It's bearable. The lads play word association games because it passes the time a bit quicker. It's like a giant fridge freezer and hopefully it will give us the edge going into tomorrow.”
Worcester chief Ryan added: "We've got a smaller group that's going week after week and we're asking them to match any opposition that comes.
"The time for straying around in selection has gone. Now we know the group, we've got to do our best to get them as fresh as we can.
"We've said we'll give it everything over the next two weeks and see where we are, have a couple of weeks off and then really have a crack at the end of the season."