And so to work…

Well, here I am, full of museli (*coughs*) in a hotel lounge in the South west, ready for the season to start again. I have a pre season friendly in a ground as far as you can go in England without getting wet; between a Championship side and a Welsh regional side! Weather down here was pants yesterday and showers forecast today – frankly which suits me to a tee!

For those of you concerned, I did pass the fitness test the other week, to my relief, and between my Personal Trainer (AKA The Devil Bloke) and I, we’re feeling pretty confident that I’m making progress. Still not quite the svelte lean machine I once was but I’m getting there!)

This evening will be a strange one as it will be my first time on a pitch with a whistle this year. My local club doesn’t start for another 3 weeks or so so they aren’t really ready to do contact sessions, so hoping I can get switched back on quickly and reffing like I havent had 2 months off! Seem to remember it worked OK last year.

Bit disappointed I’m not running out at Twickenham, but while it’s a fantastic event and tournament to be involved in, there’s nothing like 15 a side rugby to warm you up. And we only have 2 weeks before the Championship kicks off again. Whatever happened to gradually getting back in September!?!

I spent last night re-watching the new interpretation’s we’re being asked to implement this year.  The main one will be around what I’m calling the ‘standing tackler’ who now has to release the player he just put on the floor, before going for the ball – “Not-quite-so-Man-on-his-feet-is-king”! Part 2 of that will be where players can enter the tackle zone from. Other main one will be a slowing down of the scrum engagement. Makes sense and I don’t think it will be much slower than last season – time will tell!

We’ve also been asked to focus on players ahead of kickers, backfoot offside, entry of attacking players into breakdown, scrum feed, and maul formation. Pretty much the same from last season.

So what do I expect from this season? More of the same really. Lots of pressure on us to deliver accuracy and uncontroversial performances. The sides will treat the Championship the same – in 2 distinct parts. The first bit where they will be looking to secure a top 8 position before the Feb cut off, and then the promotion/relegation run offs from then on. Not easy for us, but that’s not why we’re here. From what I’ve read/seen online, there’s lots been happening in the transfer market but not enough to lose the base of the sides I saw last year. It all helps in the relationships we have with players. I know them, they know me. It helps! Even though some will have different shirts on this season!

Right, I’m off for my Saturday morning hotel swim. Got to get that 3 1/2 hour journey out of my back from last night, and ready for action later. Really looking forward to it, if not the 5 hour trip home…

Hey ho – we love it!

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