As a new member joining O.U.R.F.C I thought it would be pertinent to continue on from fellow historian Ian Williams and cast my thoughts on today’s events.
The morning started early for the non-starting 15 with some conditioning that involved tyres, befitting those that carried the heavy machinery of yesteryear. The starting players enjoyed a much welcomed lie in and a rather less strenuous activation session in the gym; this did not stop resident Mr Motivator Chris Mansfield from improving his aesthetic physique with some flamboyant core exercises. Manny alongside someone who has requested to remain anonymous had the previous evening sampled more of the Russian culture through their Tinder encounters, as I am very naïve in this form of social media I will not pass too much comment and leave your imagination to fill in the blanks! The gym session ended with the boys following the teachings of James Kerr and his insights into the success of the All Blacks, his enlightening book named ‘Legacy’ teaches that no player is bigger than the team, with players such as Richie McCaw and Dan Carter all sweeping the changing rooms after being used. The players followed suit in this fashion and tided all the equipment away, this cannot be said however for the Dark Ferret who’s lack of restacking his dumbbells were quickly documented by our resident S & C coach, Sybot. Rest assured ‘dumbbellgate’ will not be forgotten quickly. On a separate note we all have been incredibly impressed with Sybot and appreciate the time he has taken out of his busy schedule as a celebrity double for European and Commonwealth champion Iuan Thomas, he has a commanding voice that rivals James Earl Jones and even that of Will Boardman, I hope at some point on tour we get to experience a rousing rendition of ‘Old man River’ from the two.
After breakfast followed the now standard custom of celebrating my birthday every day on tour, so far the novelty has not worn off although I have chosen a few healthier options other than traditional cake, including plenty of fruit. The players have responded well but will still provide a treat every now and then to avoid another ‘watermelongate’ incident from occurring.
Some player down time followed breakfast, the highlights of this period featured Captain Jacob Taylor experiencing some unfortunate laundry difficulties to the amusement of hostel staff and the players .The team mascot Panini is still missing , Snoopy has been incredibly concerned over her whereabouts more so now that we are approaching our first court session tomorrow evening.
After a Dillightful lunch (see Tour Diary Part 2 on our new favourite herb) we had a video session with Wadey to reemphasise some of the key points from the last few weeks of training, I’m sure all the negative examples of Australia playing badly were done so coincidentally and not to evoke response from our proud Aussie captain.
The team to play Saint Petersburg State University was announced yesterday and I am excited to be taking part in my first fixture in Dark Blue, all the preparation and fitness over summer cannot supersede the physical demands of a full contact game. Alongside myself there are plenty of new players keen to impress with competition across the squad boding well for this season’s campaign.
There is an element of the unknown in what we will be facing on Sunday, having watched my first ever live Blues fixture against Russia in November of last year I recall a real physicality combined with sharpness in their execution and expect that we will face a similar approach against Saint Petersburg. Today before training the boys caught a glimpse of what we may encounter when two local sides, who in fact play in the same league as St Petersburg University participated in a ‘friendly’ pre-season fixture, it is safe to say the back rower that appeared from a distance to be around the 7 feet mark did not remove any feelings that there is a physical battle ahead. The final team run was completed and we welcomed the arrival of some new members with prior commitments: Julian Morlet, Graeme MacGilchrist and lead S & C coach Sean Morris have all arrived safely and I’m sure tomorrow will provide them ample opportunity to bring them up to speed.
The search for the imposter Zoltan continues to build, some useful hints have been revealed but the culprit remains at large, only time will tell whether he or she will be discovered.
Yours in Dark Blue George Messum