OpinionTuesday, February 4, 2014
Hard work ahead of 2014 season
In similar fashion as last year, the Senior and U20 national squads finished a five-day camp with a practice game between both squads. Played at the quaint Old Resian Club on the outskirts of Rosario, players arrived to this trial game after four days of hard work.
“It was like being at a military camp,” was the general view of players. With training sessions starting as early as 6am, and many daily workouts aimed at doing a lot in precious little time, coaches of both teams did not allow much time for relaxing.
Despite this, the game was positive proof of the hard work done in lieu of the fast-approaching agenda facing each side. Los Pampas XV will travel to Australia probably on February 7 — their original flight on the 9th was cancelled. Martín Gaitán’s side now has the unenviable task of reducing the squad from 36 to 30 players.
“It won’t be easy to decide on the six who won’t travel as all of them are showing their worth,” explained coach Gaitán as his team was going through the hard work at the premises Rosario Central has in Arroyo Seco, south of the city of Rosario. “We will be facing a high standard of rugby and it will be a very positive experience for every player involved.”
Today, high performance sportsmen are very conscious of how they need to live their lives and are constantly aiming to be better. That is easily understood when seeing how hard these rugby players have worked. Not only the seniors; this sense of responsibility is part of the new generations.
That same, extremely warm, afternoon in the great facilities that the same club has overlooking the Paraná River in the neighbourhood of Granadero Baigorria, aspiring Pumitas show how solid they are as a squad. As only 23 of the 30 in camp will be playing the next morning, the remaining seven undergo a strenuous fitness workout. Most of their teammates come to support them. The last, extenuating, exercise requires them to run up and down some stands; they way those running are pushed by their loud teammates bodes well for the future.
This group does not have stars in the making as in 2012 and 2013, five of which played for Los Pumas in last November’s tour. “We are hoping that the team as a unit will be able to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors,” explained Pumita coach Rodolfo Ambrosio.
The week included a lot of off-the-field work with all the coaches within the Argentine Rugby Union system. Long meetings on how the game will be played is dissected and analysed. “They were tiring and long but fruitful working days,” explained Puma coach Daniel Hourcade who is now in England seeing different options for the team to have as its HQ during Rugby World Cup 2015.
All of this hard work does not promise wins, although noticeable progress is expected in the short term. Ireland and Scotland will visit us in June. Before their arrival, there is a lot of rugby to be played, but the future looks well taken care of.