England rugby: Calum Clark 'tames inner chimp'

Calum Clark
Calum Clark has yet to win his first cap for England but is part of the squad for the autumn Tests

Northampton flanker Calum Clark says he has tamed his "inner chimp" through sessions with sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters.

The England squad member was banned for 32 weeks in March 2012 for breaking the elbow of Leicester's Rob Hawkins.

But he could make his England debut in the autumn Tests after being recalled to the 33-man training squad.

"The inner chimp was pretty aggressive, he was unwilling to listen and unwilling to learn," Clark, 25, said.

"That is something I feel I have been able to improve on and develop - being honest with myself, taking a look in the mirror and being willing to take things on."

Dr Steve Peters
Has degrees in mathematics, medicine and medical education (Masters level). Also postgraduate qualifications in sports medicine, education & psychiatryTeams he has assisted include the GB Olympic cycling team, Team Sky, England's football and rugby union sides and Liverpool FC
His book The Chimp Paradox explains how the human mind operates and how people can learn skills to manage their mindHas helped sports stars including Ronnie O'Sullivan, Steven Gerrard, Craig Bellamy, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton

Peters is the sports psychiatrist who helped Great Britain's cycling squad in their rise to Olympic pre-eminence, and in addition to the England rugby union team has also worked with the Liverpool and England football sides and world snooker champion Ronnie O'Sullivan.

He uses the term "inner chimp" to describe the section of the brain that deals with emotion and in his book The Chimp Paradox, he sets out the theory that people can learn skills to manage those emotions in order to achieve success.

Clark, who was red-carded for a head-butt in the 2008 Junior World Cup final, feels his work with Peters has changed his mentality since the incident in which he injured Hawkins during the 2012 LV= Cup final.

He said: "It started with a bit of work with Steve Peters. I went to see him a few times and took a lot from it.

"I read his book and it is something that grounds me when I am approaching the game.

"That is something I feel I have been able to improve on and develop - being honest with myself, taking a look in the mirror and being willing to take things on."

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