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'England have gone on leave… all the hotel staff are South African!' Springboks enjoy lavish Pennyhill Park surroundings in build-up to World Cup quarter-final with Wales
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By Alex Sharp for MailOnline
Published: 13:03 EST, 13 October 2015 | Updated: 13:13 EST, 13 October 2015
The South African rugby squad are more than happy to take advantage of England's World Cup demise, enjoying their new 'unbelievable' facilities, having taken over the Pennyhill Park base.
It was the training base, opened in May last year, that was meant to provide the platform for World Cup success for the hosts but crushing defeats by Wales and Australia in Pool A meant England have failed to qualify for the knockout phase for the first time.
Instead South Africa, preparing to face Wales in the quarter-finals on Saturday, now have full use of the £3million training facility in Bagshot.
South Africa head coach Heyneke Meyer conducts a training session at England's Pennyhill Park base
Pieter-Steph du Toit limbers up for taking on Wales in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday
South Africa's Bryan Habana (right) and Tendai Mtawarira enjoyed using England's training base in Bagshot
'It's incredible. The media centre is pretty much bigger than my local club back home. It's unbelievable,' said Springboks back row Schalk Burger before joking. 'All the waiters and hotel staff seem to be South African. I have met about four - I think the English staff have gone on leave!'
Prop Tendai Mtawarira added: 'The best rugby facility I've trained in.'
The South Africa squad were put through their paces at the complex, which the RFU invested £2.5million in to turn it from a luxury hotel into a bespoke training and preparation facility - that features the England emblem on one of its exterior walls.
Players practiced on a pitch laid out to match the dimensions of Twickenham, hoping they fair better than Stuart Lancaster's side at the weekend.
South Africa players have trained under the shadow of England's Red Rose at Pennyhill Park in Surrey
The South African squad moved into England's Pennyhill Park training base to prepare for facing Wales
Heyneke Meyer's side practise the lineout on Tuesday whilst Jannie Du Plessis kicks the ball
Schalk Burger (centre) quipped the ' I think the English staff have gone on leave!'
Rudy Paige aims a pass during training at Pennyhill Park before facing Wales on Saturday
Joint record World Cup try scorer Bryan Habana collects the ball during a training exercise on Tuesday
South Africa replaced England at their training base as they prepare for their World Cup quarter-final
South Africa head coach Heyneke Meyer (left) and Jean de Villiers cast their eyes over proceedings in Surrey
After World Cup hosts crashed out of the World Cup, South Africa have taken over at Pennyhill Park