Wednesday, January 27, 2016

NZ Training week

It's been a fairly good week of training, despite the wet conditions. Quote of the week so far came from Nate, a teammate of mine, he said, "man, this is the worse summer on planet earth!" In context it was quite hilarious:)

Anyways, we had a scrimmage against Scotland yesterday, after a morning training session on our own. It was good and bad. I personally struggle to play against another team when we don't play a real game. In this "scrimmage" the tackle and rucks were not full contact, so stealing possession is near impossible, unless the other team just drops the ball. And when you tag someone as if you would've tackled them, they run a couple extra steps, causing tempers to elevate quite quickly (especially for those competitive-type like me).  

That said, I kept my cool and so did the rest of our team. Apparently our guys got into a bit of a scuffle against Scotland during a scrimmage last season so we were told to be extra careful. You might ask, well, "what's the point!?" It's really just about us getting our systems down against opposition so we can work through some minor details of communication and structure (which probably doesn't mean anything to most people;).

Tomorrow is one last training before we go into the tournament. The stadium is a nice big oval, made to play cricket as well, which means the grass is like a putting green, and there's lots of space between you and the crowd...which has a capacity of 35,000. A little side note, last time I played in this stadium was against Australia during the 15s World Cup in 2011. Looking forward to having better results this time around! 

We are in the pool of death though with four teams ranked in the top 10.  It'll be extremely competitive, but I can without a doubt say we're ready for it. Here is the schedule for day one... 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

And we're off

At the airport, ready for our long 12 hour flight to Auckland where we'll stop off quickly before we head to Wellington...unless we have trouble through customs. 

"Clean your boots" they say. You're not allowed to bring any dirt, or animal type product into New Zealand. They're extremely strict about it and will even fine you for dirt on your rugby cleats. Fortunately I picked up some new ones, a little flashy, but they felt so comfortable:) 

Flights don't seem to bother me anymore. These long trips are tough, but it's all about timing. I'll sleep about 6-8 hours (if I'm lucky), eat twice, snack and watch 1-2 movies. Before you know it you're there!

New Zealand is one of my favorite places I've ever been. This will be my sixth trip and I'm looking forward to it more than ever. The people are beautiful in heart and spirit and I love their culture. True value in family, and relationships in general. Looking forward to catch up with some old friends before or after the tournament as well. 

Oh Yeah, cut is healing nicely...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

So much to catch up on!

Apologies for the massive gap in posting. It's been a hectic time period. I came back from Dubai and South Africa, in which the US became ranked 3rd in the world by the way, and had to figure out my move down to SD in 8 days. Had to pack, find a new apartment, catch up with work, close loose ends at work, and then ultimately drive down, unpack, etc. all while still training. 

That's right I moved to San Diego to train full time with the US team through the Olympics. 

So here we are, the holidays are over, we're into the new year and we're already nearly embarking on the next two tournaments, which are in NZ and Australia. 

We went through two very tough weeks of training with the team. High high volume of running, conditioning and skill development. It was probably the most competitive camp, with the most talented players, I've ever been a part of. The gap and competition between players is constantly narrowing and this team Is only getting better and better. (Even if it costs a few cuts and bruises!)

The traveling team has been named, and I'm again honored to be included in that list of 13 players. Stay tuned for more frequent updates this time around;)