Game 6 – Saracens
Its Tuesday morning of the Clermont week and after a rather disappointing start to our Champions cup campaign against Saracens it’s time to try and bounce back on the road. 4 from our first six games left us up the top of the table and with a real chance to get stuck into these couple of European games. After last weekend’s defeat, as a team we had to evaluate and realise it left us with a great opportunity to go away to Clermont and give them a real run for their money. As we make our way down to the meeting room, it’s clear to see (and feel) Summer has very much come and gone and it’s starting to feel rather autumnal. There is a slightly colder, damper feeling in the air this morning, not one that a few of our Southern Hemisphere friends are used to. A few jokes get thrown about to Rob Horne and Cobus Reinach, as they definitely aren’t immune to training in the cold. Get used to it boys.
We have a backs split meeting in the morning. This is where we go through last week’s game as a backs unit, what we did well/could have improved. Then we move on to the coming week, looking at Clermont, and where their weaknesses and strengths are and how we can exploit them. After a brief meeting, the backs head up to the gym to ‘get powerful’ as our attack coach Alan Dickens says. We have a half an hour power session, which is all about jumping high, running fast and moving weight quickly. The most powerful lads in the squad are Tom Emery, otherwise known as the Kangaroo. The boy can jump further and higher than anyone else. George North, but I’m sure you guessed that and Cobus Reinach who is very quick off the mark.
After our short power session we head out onto the back pitches at franklins gardens and begin our backs session. This involves lots of high speed running, skills work, and general attack shape. While we are running around practicing all of these skills, the forwards are at the top end doing scrums and topless mauling. I’m quite happy I’m a back at this point as it doesn’t look very enjoyable to say the least. 30 minutes and we’re done. Time for some breakfast from our awesome team chef Gavin.
Once our refuel has happened it’s time for our main session of the day. This is our defence session. These can sometimes get a little niggly, especially if lads are short of game time or have suffered a heavy loss at the weekend. Lads have a point to prove to the coaches to try and put their hands up for this weekend. We start with some tackle technique stuff, then move onto some more detail around the breakdown. This is then put into a game which has different constraints regarding what we have been practicing. This session tends to last for an hour or so and has the majority of our defensive detail in. This session is all fuelled towards the coming weekend. We have learnt our lessons in the meetings earlier in the day and it’s time to put it into practice. As I am in the wanderers this week, we have to play how Clermont would. This is quite fun as it means you get to try things you wouldn’t normally, and this week play in the classic ‘Joue’ French way. Obviously the end goal is to get back on the other side and get back into the first team and that will come with training and playing well.
The session comes to an end, and it’s time for a shower and some lunch. For lunch we have a full Roast today which is the lads favourite day. There is pudding after but if your body fat is too high then no pudding for you. I’m not going to say any names on this one as it might come back to bite me! This isn’t the end of the day however. It’s time to clean the hot tub. 2 academy boys have to help kit man Kev clean the 1st team hot tub, not quite as bad as cleaning dirty boots. Luckily I’m not on the rota this week but I think I may be in trouble next week! After a long days training it’s time for me to go home and do some studying/write this blog! Not the worst day of ‘work’.