For the last few weeks I have been away from the club environment. The England under 20’s EPS squad join up at Bisham Abbey, the national institute of sport. As a group of young players this environment is perfect to learn in. A world class gym and world class pitches all on your doorstep. The difficulty with having a brand new group of players together is to learn each others traits and how individuals work. Having two weeks together sounds like a lot of time, but trust me it isn’t. Two weeks pass and you’re back at the club for a week and back into playing the way your team play.
The week I spent at the club was the first week of Anglo Welsh. We played Sale up in Salford on the Saturday afternoon. The place where I made my premiership debut in torrential conditions. Last time we left with a narrow loss. This time round we left with a narrow victory. A try in the last minute by Nafi Tuitavake gave us an important victory that gave us a great chance of qualifying for the semi finals. Personally I played the second half, kicking 4 out of 4 goals. A good win on the road for the team!
Now I move onto the six nations with the England U20s boys. A very exciting group with a few lads being pulled up from the u18’s team, highlighting the youth setup and how effective it is. We travelled away to Italy on the Thursday afternoon and prepared to play Italy on the Friday night. On Friday morning we went to the stadium for a pitch walk and to allow the kickers get some final practice in. The pitch was underwater. We left the ground unsure whether the game would go ahead or not. This makes it very hard to get your head in the right frame of mind to play an international test match. 4 hours later the game is on, the water has been pushed off the pitch and the game goes ahead. We win 27-17 in a very wet affair. We leave Italy with 4 tries and the win we desired. Very much a smash and grab job.
Now I’m sat in my hotel room up in Newcastle, preparing to play Wales on Friday night. The weather is again, not so great. We’ve had snow, rain, sun. All within an hour of each other. Fingers crossed its dry on Friday night and we can perform well again.
The game will be shown live on Sky Sports Action with a 7:45 kick off!