In just a few days I will be running out onto Allianz Stadium in Sydney to face up to the Waratahs in the first game of our 2015 Super Rugby season and I can’t wait!
Previously, I’ve talked about how I prepare for a rugby season, maintaining my fitness and nutrition so I’m in peak physical condition. This time I will talk about the lead up to a game, my routine and the excitement and atmosphere running out onto the rugby field.
Preparations start a week out from game day with the team running drills, talking tactics and working on our form. We also watch a replay of our previous match to see what we’ve done well and what needs work. This preparation is really important because it keeps us focused and it develops us both as a team and as individuals plus we know exactly what we need to do when we run out onto the field.
For away games, we arrive two or three days ahead of the game to help settle in, get use to the field and play a captain’s run to iron out any last minute issues; it’s important the team is running like a well oiled machine.
The night before is quiet and on game day I keep as relaxed as possible before meeting the team four hours prior to kick off so we can talk tactics. Then we jump on the bus to the stadium with 90 minutes before kick-off so we can settle into our change room, warm up and have a final talk with our coach.
Most players will have their own routines in preparing for a game, I keep as relaxed as I can by listening to music and running through the routine of getting reading like strapping my wrists and warming up.
Just before we run out the captain and a few other players will say a few words to pump us up and focus on the game. Then it’s time to run out onto the field so we move in behind one another and head for the tunnel that leads down to the field.
I’ve run down the tunnel at Allianz many times before and it never loses the buzz and excitement, especially when you know it’s going to be a good turnout with thousands of people all wanting to watch a great game of rugby – something we always want to deliver.
As a team, we jog down through the tunnel, my eyes are fixed on the field and I hear the roar as the crowd sees us, I know my family is there, and friends are watching on as I take my position on the field.
The crowd always falls silent with that first kick and I spring into action.
See you all on Sunday!