“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” - Benjamin Franklin
Yes, the Rangers are up and running. We've had our Pilates preamble, now for the good stuff! 5 July was the first official session and was met with a confused mix of dread and excitement.
Pre-season is an interesting time for any club. There is not only the unpleasant inevitability of the impending 'beasting' - there is also a level of renewed possibilities and hopeful expectation of the year ahead.
The transfer rumour-mill is in full operation. Admittedly it’s not exactly Sky Sports news on deadline day but there is still a level of excitement generated by new signing speculations. Who has left? Who has come back? Are there any new faces? If so, what position are they? Are they big?! And this year has been no exception. As we look to build on our strong finish to the season and push on up the table, we really need a bit more depth.
The word on the street is William Mateai will be joining us this year. The Winger has played for New Zealand Under17s and comes fresh from the Under20s World Cup where he played for Samoa. A few of the boys suspected that he’d seen our shirts and thought we were Wasps but we’re certainly looking forward to welcoming him.
|William Mateia. A Ranger from 16 August.|
There is more speculation doing the rounds about Australian Props, Scottish Second Rows and suspicions about a turncoat shower-dodger but I’m sure all will be revealed over the next few weeks!
The training so far has been strangely enjoyable. There has been more focus on Rugby specific fitness - sprint and power work combined with handling skills. Much better than the standard 'run 'til you vom' style...but I don't want to count my chickens!
Fortunately, I haven’t suffered too much because I have been doing bits and pieces in the off-season. Those 7s tournaments have stood me in good stead! I even managed the dreaded Saturday morning hill sprints at the weekend, which I was very happy with.
We have a packed schedule of friendlies to look forward to as well. I will be on holiday for the Maidenhead game but return in time for a game against Oxford Harlequins and the much-anticipated tournament and team building weekend down in Exmouth.
Which all leads up to the Tring vs Chinnor grudge match! This will be the first time I have played against the Oxfordshire side and I'm definitely looking forward to it.
There is a certain history between Tring and Chinnor. Not content with stealing our old coach Jason Bowers, the club has also poached a number of our key players over the past few seasons. Add to that the local bragging rights and should make for a tasty game!
The game has an added personal significance. My Wife and I lived just a stone’s throw from the Chinnor ground for two long years and my Wife grew up there. She has played for Chinnor Chicks in the past, her Dad has also donned the black and white hoops and a number of her friends will be playing. I will be determind to show that I made the right decision to stay with Tring...not that I was ever asked or anything!
So, as the season fast approaches, I am feeling in good shape and psychologically preparing myself for an epic year!