As mentioned in my last post, the sun came out today! It was hot before we left for training and after the bus ride to the training field the humidity was up and so was the temperature. Loads of sunscreen was applied to stave of sun burn and then out onto the training paddock. For me it started slowly as I attempted to loosen up the body after sleeping on the floor with my mattress for the last two nights. It is the only way that I can get some fan on me during the evening, so I sacrifice some comfort for some sleep!
The session was a good session. We started out with developing our attacking structures off phase play. It was good to get into the groove instinctively reacting to calls. It takes time to create combinations and develop timing and as the session went on things started to click. Balls went to hand in space and players attacked the gain line. After about 40 minutes we had a “half time break”. The boys were pretty hot and grateful to get into the shade for some respite.
During the 10 minutes, Chooky (team manager) and Damo (team physio) renewed a simmering rivalry. They contested a 100m sprint at Nomads with Chooky getting 20m head start and 50m swim with Chooky getting about 20m head start. Chooky won both events with just enough in an aging rugby body to hold off the determined younger man. This time it was on a track the length of the straightaway and Chooky only got 15m. The race was intense and at the end Chooky took by it a nose, leaving Damo to lick his wounds.
The session finished with game management run. Once again things started to fall into place. The forwards connected with the backs and the vibe around the group was great at the end of training. Unfortunately, the mood was immediately dampened as the heavens opened with a vengeance. The track around the field quickly flooded and we were trapped in the grand stand to keep dry.
After lunch the coaches gave the players the option of an afternoon off with an early training session in the morning or pushing through in the afternoon and getting a sleep-in tomorrow. The lads decided the afternoon off was the best option. We had a short team meeting about the code of conduct and how to talk to the media effectively. Then the forwards did lineouts, which as a lineout lifter tends to a be a lot of work and then R&R. The laptops came out, ping pong, playstation and movies were the distractions of choice.
It was great to have a rest and just hang out with everyone. I definitely found it really useful and I think a lot of the boys will be refreshed by getting some time off. Tomorrow we have an early training session and then it is off to play the Philippine Barbarians in a trial match. I am looking forward to getting back out on the pitch at ISM for the game.