PNC- grand final time for Aussie A
Going into the last week of the tournament the Aussie A team is very much concentrating on making sure the physical/mental/emotional aspects of the guys are as good as they can be. They are sitting on top of the table after notching up 202 points in 4 games.
Assistant coach Nick Scrivener shares some insight into the team environment. “The early part of the week we are looking to get the players heads out of rugby for a couple of days and limit physical output. The rest time also gives the guys an opportunity to do some analysis of the opposition this week.”
“After last Sunday’s game, the team travelled to Sydney on Monday and had medical/physical screenings Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning was off, training on Tuesday arvo comprised a game of cricket and soccer on the beach in Sydney, followed by a swim in the ocean. Wednesday saw a solid team training, Thursday is a rest day & Friday is a light run.”
The past 5 weeks has been a pretty disruptive tournament in terms of preparation due to travel. Having a star studded line up of Wallabies has also come at a fatigue cost, “These boys have been doubling up training in the A’s team as well as Robbie Deans Wallaby squad, so at times they are very tired fellas.”
“This has meant the players have had to push to get through what was needed to get them up to speed on team structures. They are now at a stage where all players are fairly comfortable in what Australia A is trying to achieve, this has not changed too much from game and looks like a winning formula. This week it is very much about freshening up the squad to prepare them for an opponent which will provide us with different challenges than those of the last few weeks.”
The team has enjoyed being back in Brisbane and Sydney the last two weeks as players are able to catch up with family and friends and break up the hotel room times of touring.
Nick goes on to say “The players are looking forward to playing NZ in what will be essentially a grand final. Like all contests of anything between these two countries we know it will be extremely hard fought. The players are also looking forward to playing the Maori, a side which has an extremely proud history and which really is one of the unique teams in world rugby - while the players look forward to the battle they are also appreciative of the opportunity to play against the Maori.”
Australia A: Mark Gerrard, Drew Mitchell, Morgan Turinui, Timana Tahu, Digby Ioane, Daniel Halangahu, Brett Sheehan; Richard Brown, Julian Salvi, Hugh McMeniman, Peter Kimlin, Al Campbell, Guy Shepherdson, Sean Hardman, Sekope Kepu. Res: John Ulugia, Salesi Ma'afu, Van Humphries, Leroy Houston, Ben Lucas, Sam Norton-Knight, Matt Carraro.