England have gone to dark places - Dombrandt

Alex Dombrandt during England training
Dombrandt has returned to the England fold after missing the 2023 World Cup [Getty Images]

England number eight Alex Dombrandt says he and his team-mates have gone to some “dark places” to prepare for the heat and humidity of Tokyo this weekend.

Steve Borthwick’s side face Eddie Jones’ Japan on Saturday in the first of three summer Test matches before a two-Test series in New Zealand.

Dombrandt, 27, says training has been tailored for the Tokyo conditions, with high temperatures and humidity levels expected in the coming days.

"In those tough times and dark places you rally together as a squad," the Harlequins player told BBC Sport.

"[We did] some tough fitness sessions on the Watt Bike and rower, but they scattered some heaters around it so you are in a furnace type of thing, to replicate the heat and humidity.

"We know that is preparing us for what is to come in Japan.”

Japan will be coached by former England boss Jones, who faces off against England for the first time since leaving Twickenham at the end of 2022.

"Eddie Jones is obviously a great coach who will prepare that team extremely well," added Dombrandt, who won the first of his 17 caps under Jones against Canada in 2021.

"They are going to have a really good team and we know we are going to have to be at our best to get the result we want."

England face huge challenges - George

Meanwhile captain Jamie George wants England to pick up where they left off at the end of the Six Nations, when the side recovered from a mixed start to the championship to beat Ireland and run France close in Lyon.

"That’s the big thing for me, and the message I’ve said so far: this isn’t us starting for zero," the Saracens hooker told BBC Sport.

"The results didn’t go exactly how we wanted them to go in the Six Nations, but you look at the the performance against Ireland in particular and the performance that we put out there against France - you would be stupid not to use that momentum going forward into this tour.

"Not just that, but the standard of the Premiership this season and the way the English players are playing in the Premiership, we have to utilise that, and we have to bring that with us and use the momentum going forward into Japan.

"What an amazing opportunity we have got over the next few weeks. We have got three huge challenges ahead of us, but with a very exciting team who want to do some special things."