SOLDIERS from 22 Engineer Regiment Royal Engineers (22RE) have hosted a team building exercise at Swinton Barracks, Perham Down for the London Broncos Rugby League Team.

The soldiers have put the Super League players through their paces in a military exercise designed to challenge them both mentally and physically.

The 28 professional athletes swapped their sports kit for combats as they immersed themselves in a three-day pre-season training programme.

Staff Sergeant Mike Thompson, 22RE Rugby League Officer has been instrumental in organising the exercise which focused on military physical training methods using command tasks and teamwork techniques, weapon handling, survivability plus basic fieldcraft giving the Broncos a condensed look at Army life.

He said: “The physical challenges we have set up for them are completely different to what they train for, something they’re not used to doing. As professional sportsmen the Broncos are robust, fit individuals but can they carry 90kgs between six people over a set distance up-hill?”

With less than a month before the start of the league Head Coach Danny Ward wanted an intensive training camp that would challenge his squad, he said:

“We have a good relationship with the Army, so I approached them and asked them to make it tough, make it uncomfortable, take them out of their comfort zone. Put them into a different environment, give them a bit of adversity to see what happens.

Despite the overnight temperatures of minus 5, the players embraced the ‘soldiering’ by staying out in two-man shelters, cooking 24-hour ration packs, whilst providing guard sentry for a simulated army infiltration.

Eddie Battye, Broncos Prop Forward said of his experience: “I’m pretty tired, we all had a rough night’s sleep, we think pre-season training is hard but what the Army guys do is just another level.”

Broncos Head Coach Danny said: “These last few days has been a great opportunity for us and the Regiment to grow an affiliation, we have similar values, we are all a very disciplined tight knit bunch, the culture you create as a club stands you in good stead for the season, it’s all about the winning culture, work mentality, work ethic.”