sport news Cheddar, sherry and keepy-uppies help Northamptons reach play-offs

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Blocks of cheddar, shots of sherry and keepy-uppies help Northampton Saints reach the Premiership play-offs Last season Northampton finished a disappointing ninth in the Premiership Chris Boyd wasted no time in turning round the mood at Franklin's Gardens  Saints coach has proved there is life yet in 'old school' training methods

By Nik Simon for the Daily Mail

Published: 22:29 BST, 23 May 2019 | Updated: 22:40 BST, 23 May 2019

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In the modern sporting world dominated by GPS tracking, marginal gains and high protein diets, Northampton Saints have proved there is life yet in 'old school' training methods.

Blocks of cheese, shots of sherry and 'Maradona Seven' challenges have been at the heart of the club's surprise qualification for Saturday's play-offs.

Last season Northampton finished ninth in the Premiership, but new coach Chris Boyd wasted no time in turning round the mood at Franklin's Gardens.

Northampton Saints have proved there is life yet in ‘old school’ training methods

Northampton Saints have proved there is life yet in 'old school' training methods

As well as tearing up the team's structure and playing philosophy, he split his squad into four mini-teams during pre-season for a morale-boosting series of trials.

Head of strength and conditioning Tom Bullough was given the role of setting competitions every Monday morning.

'Boydey's come in and flushed out all the negativity,' said centre Luther Burrell. 'Last season the changing room had become a little bit negative and there were quite a lot of "Sappuccinos", but it's a happy camp now.

'The little challenges are great. We picked teams and naturally James Haskell was the last pick!

'We had a French food challenge where you had to eat a block of cheese, a clove of garlic, some rock-hard bread

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