Alun Wyn Jones ‘Altitude, wrestling and Gatland on the tackle bags – inside Wales’ gruelling World Cup camp

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Hadleigh Parkes: Wales’ Alps training camp living up to ‘hell’ billing

There is still a dusting of snow on the mountain tops but the heat is roasting at the foot of the Swiss Alps, where Wales’ rugby players are being punished in a circuit class like no other.

Ken Owens and his fellow front-rowers take turns to wrestle, captain Alun Wyn Jones pounds away at an exercise bike like he’s at the Tour de France, while Taulupe Faletau flips a tyre twice his size with the help of Aaron Shingler.

Chests heaving, sweat pouring from their tanned brows, the players graft relentlessly as dance music drowns out the cowbells and streams which usually accompany this rarefied air.

Fiesch is a quaint little Alpine village with a population of less than 1,000, and its altitude has brought Wales here for a two-week training camp as they prepare for the Rugby World Cup, which starts in two months.

Their mantra is ‘Live high, train low’, with the squad based 2,300m above sea level and training 1,000m lower. Even at their lowest, the players are training at the equivalent height of Snowdon’s summit.

Huw Bennett is a former Wales hooker who is now a strength and conditioning coach, and he is in his element as he barks orders during this circuit class, one of the many brutal workouts he has created for the players.

“We have sessions devised to put them in that dark place,” he says with a gleeful glint.

“We don’t put them in that hole every session but we’ll give them little blasts, little hits.

Wales have reached 14 games unbeaten and won the 2019 Six Nations via a Grand Slam campaign

“Physically we’ve got the benefits of living at altitude and we train at an altitude which doesn’t affe

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