The Junior All Blacks train army style.
Under the beating sun the Junior All Blacks strutted their stuff at the Nadi Muslim School in Fiji. They have had 3 wins from 3 in the ANZ Pacific Nations Cup and this weekend they have the luxury of a bye, but before it was all deck chairs and cheeky swims, these guys were put to task.
It all started looking like fun, easing into a warm up and a few stretches, this soon turned into physical torture as their trainer (ex army) made them fully aware of where their heart was, and how fast it can beat.
For at least 5 minutes they were stuck in the press up position, doing sets of 3, then having to stay in the air without grounding as the full circle of them completed their turn. This went on and on and on, arms were shaking with triceps under pressure, but the big fellas stayed strong and soaked up their hard medicine today. Just when that came to an end along came Ab time, on their backs the legs were up and plenty of gut wrenching work was done. They all again passed the test and then were lucky enough to have some speed work as their reward after a dash of water.
They were up, they were running, they were down again, they were rolling, they were up again and running 20 feet, then down again, rolling and sprinting back to go. In a game that hard work in training brings you rewards in a match, they put a lot of good vouchers in the bank today.
Watchful coach Ian Foster circles them in this regime, his words are calm & on the mark as he passes on his knowledge. The good bit is they are all way too tired to talk back and every one of his words is listened to. Foster seems a very astute man, he singles out individuals and like a mechanic working on a car, and he just tinkers away with his engine. Looking around at these chiseled beasts there is plenty of horsepower on offer & there is certainly no shortage of go.
Surrounding the pitch was a mass of eager students to see a great side up close, this quality of rugby has put a real lift into Fiji as a country and the people are enjoying being exposed to such talent. Little kids are gleaming at seeing the men on TV up close & this has them very excited. After the Juniors left all the little people were replicating them on the same park & this is what growing the game is all about.
This weekend Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and Japan all have game time, the Juniors have a long break now and they deserve the luxury after working so hard to get here. They still have one massive challenge next week and that is Tonga, probably the best-equipped team to combat their brute strength. But for now they will rest up, massage up and enjoy the views and lifestyle Fiji has to offer.