Vodacom Stormers flanker Luke Watson is excited about the Vodacom Super 14 and is particularly impressed with the work ethic of the squad members.
The WP flank and captain said the players had a good break after the Currie Cup season and are now working hard in preparation of the Super 14.
“We definitely had more than enough of a break, we had three and a half to four weeks of rest and that was good. But such is the nature of the guys in the squad that most of them started to train anyway during the latter part of the break,” enthused Watson.
“They came back with a lot of enthusiasm and the attitude is positive. The guys are looking forward to the Super 14 and are training hard.”
The former Eastern Province and Natal Sharks loose-forward said this was a very important phase of the season for the Stormers. “The foundation we lay now is going to be crucial towards the end of the Super 14 – not only the physical aspect but also the mental side of it.
“It is important to know you have laid the foundation at the end of the season, when fatigue sets in and injuries play a role that you can still go out and give it your all. So this pre-season training is vital.”
He added that the team spirit at training is great. “It is really good, continuing from last year where we had a lot of new guys and youngsters. The spirit is just getting better as we go along as the guys spend more time together and get to know each other better.
“The spirit really is phenomenal at the moment and it seems to go from strength to strength.”
Watson has confidence in the ability of the youngsters in the squad to make the step up from Currie Cup to the arduous Super 14 competition. “I definitely believe they can make the step up. We have a lot of youngsters coming through the ranks and I firmly believe they have the potential and the mental attitude to push into the next level.
“To play Super 14 is an opportunity the youngsters would give their arm for and it would be interesting to see how the competition in the squad and on the field pushes the guys to perform even better.”
He said the presence of experienced Springbok wing Breyton Paulse is an added bonus for the Vodacom Stormers. “I think Breytie used to be a childhood hero for a lot of the youngsters coming through.
“They saw him play on TV and for them now to play with Breyton is an opportunity of a lifetime. They would relish the chance to play with him.
“Breyton is also the sort of guy who brings a lot of enthusiasm and vibe to the team and the training field and he is the type of guy you want on your side. He leads by example and is always smiling.”
On a personal note Watson said he was in the best shape of his life at this stage of the season and that he had set himself a few goals for the 2007 season. “I was actually saying the other day that I was in the best condition I’ve ever been at this stage of the season.
“I took one week off after the Currie Cup and thought I would be in my best interest to have an early start. I wanted to work exceptionally hard and I must say I am feeling good at the moment.
“I set a few goals for myself for the new season and I want to work hard to achieve them.”
Asked if those goals included the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, Watson said: “Yes, that is one of a few goals.”