Friday’s game against the Chiefs was a huge disappointment for the team and I suppose for the faithful supporters back home. There was lots of room for improvement, especially where ball retention is concerned.
At Super 12 level I’ve personally learnt that you keep the ball for as long as possible or until you score.
Losing Corné would be a great loss for any team, but what makes the class of 2004 so different is the combined determination to go out there and bring the pride back into rugby.
Saturday and Sunday were recovery days with a swim and rehab. Monday was our normal day with the video session on our game against the Chiefs. Comparing the Blues game to the Chiefs game – it’s amazing how the bounce of the ball can change from one week to the next. In the Chiefs game we achieved 100% scrums and 92% line-outs – well acceptable, but still lost the game. Against the Blues we missed more tackles and had lower scrum and line-out percentages, but in terms of the score line beat them convincingly.
Tuesday we did the Crusaders video session and they definitely keep possession well and don’t easily turn it over. We must take our game to them, make them defend and we’ve got to keep possession. Corné told the team at our training camp in January that the Super 12 is a competition that can be very humbling – I’ve experienced this on more than one occasion this season alone!
We had our first field session on Tuesday and the desire and determination to practice well was awesome. The intensity was there and execution was perfect. When playing the actual game we’ve got to play like we practiced, so we’re definitely going into this game well prepared.
Wednesday morning we had a short power session at the gym, then we had to wait for the afternoon session. Whilst waiting for the field session some of the guys had to fulfill some “contractual obligations” with the coffee shop Starbucks! Playing cards with a cup of coffee in hand has become quite popular! We ran through line-outs and team structuring in the afternoon session.
Corné and the senior guys have told us “youngsters” that this tour is one of, if not the best tour, they’ve been part of. I really believe the reason for this, besides the excellent support from the coaching, medical, fitness and admin staff, is every players desire to be part of this team and it’s success so far. Yes, we have a long way to go, but we have a bunch of guys who want to be successful on the field and off the field as well.
To all the supporters back home, thanks so much for your support and encouragement. It’s much appreciated by all in the camp.
From a cold Christchurch,