Saturday, 8 August 2015

The New Role

So as many of you may now know, I am currently in New Zealand. Whilst working with Harlequins I managed to get a position working with Northland Rugby for their 2015 ITM Cup campaign. It is technically another internship, but they did however pay for my flights and also are paying for all my accommodation and bills.

My title is Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, and this is my role within the ITM structure. I am however also acting as the Head S&C for the Development Squad.

So my week is very busy. I work the daytimes with the ITM Squad, attending all their gym sessions, rugby training, and also analysing and issuing all the GPS and RPE data throughout the week.
Then I also work Monday & Wednesday nights with the Development team, as well as attending their fixtures.

So they are keeping me very busy, but it's really good for me in terms of progression as I am able to get heaps of hands on coaching time, as well as the opportunity to program weights, speed and conditioning for all the development squad.

It's a step up from Harlequins from a responsibility standpoint and that's exactly what I wanted it to be.

Tim, my boss, sat down with me early on and said what his expectations were for me whilst I'm here, but he also took on board my feedback about what I wanted to get from it.

So far it has been awesome. The ITM Squad are all a great bunch of lads, and the development are also in a really good position to challenge this year and develop a lot as players to push on and make the next step either throughout this year, or next year.

The house they've put us up in (my girlfriend Rachael is here with me) is good. It's nothing fancy but it does the job. We are living with some of the other players and their partners so it's nice for Rach to have some female company to get away from all the rugby chat.

It's a very social house too with a lot of the other players dropping from time to time so there's always someone about to have a chat to.

Anyways - that's about it for now. Just wanted to give an update of where I am, what I'm doing, and I'm hoping big time that it will lead to something full time somewhere in the World. If not then I'm lucky enough to have Reach Fitness London to fall back on when I return to the UK in December this year.


Sunday, 31 May 2015

My Internship Year

My Internship Year

Ok, so in June 2014 I was lucky enough to be accepted as a Strength and Conditioning intern (technically a volunteer but intern sounds better) for Harlequins Rugby for 2014/15 season. I was absolutely over the moon when I found out, because I had originally applied for this position in 2011, straight out of university, but didn’t get it.

When I didn’t get it first time round it was tough, I thought I had everything one would need to be suitable for this role. But after visiting the club shortly after, and even more so looking back 3 years down the line, I had absolutely no clue about Strength and Conditioning as an industry, no experience worthy of noting, and was duly told this.

So I was sent away with simple messages:
1.     Get some experience coaching S&C
2.     Start off down the UKSCA or CSCS/NSCA path
3.     Build a knowledge base through your own trial and error

So that’s what I did. I worked with the University of Worcester Men’s Rugby team, Men’s American Football team, Malvern College rugby, worked privately out of City Gym Worcester and Hill Performance Centre, started training for strength rather than the regular bodybuilder type training, and I researched the UKSCA.

Now I am fully UKSCA Accredited, have a year of experience in Elite Level Rugby Union, started my own business, am a personal trainer in London, and am off to New Zealand in June to be the Assistant S&C Coach for Northland in the ITM Cup.

So the internship – is it worth it?
I hear this all the time, and I read about it all the time online with people out of uni saying “I couldn’t get a job, but I’ve got a degree, should I do an internship even though I don’t get paid…”
My response would be “Yes.” Simple. This internship has been absolutely invaluable to me, it’s hard to really explain it but I’ll try.

What I’ve learnt throughout this process hasn’t necessarily been new information; I already had an understanding of physiology etc due to university, but it has been eye opening in terms of application and starting to realize the complications that arise in elite level sport.

Even now, one year on working within this structure, I feel like it would be a big step to head up an S&C Program because of how much of this information was new. How to piece together the programming for weights, speed, conditioning, recovery etc. Then the inclusion of rugby, how to cater for injuries, different fixture dates and how to adjust the training week.

So many small things you don’t even think about when you’re new, but that hit you and you suddenly realize how in depth it can all be.

A lot of people then go off talking about the role of an intern; will I just be there to do all the crappy jobs that the coaches don’t want, will I ever work with the first team, will the players like me, what happens if they don’t?

Now, I have heard some horror stories of “internships” where people basically just did all the bitch duties. Cleaning, setting up and clearing away etc.
Don’t get me wrong; we’ve had our fair share of those duties this year too. But with the bad comes the good.

This internship has been incredible for hands on experience, and that’s largely down to the fact that all bar one of the S&C team at Quins have previously been an intern at the same club. They know how it works, and know how it feels to be in that position.

On day one – our first job was to clear out a massive container of crap. This was to be expected. I should note that day one was 3 days before pre-season started.

On day two (day one of pre-season) – we were given athletes to coach. Just like that, straight in to the club, still learning names, and we’re in charge of a group of professional athletes.

A few weeks later, the England squad members came back from New Zealand and were training – they were given to us to coach. The highest profile players in the club, and the interns were in charge of them straight off. That is responsibility right there.

Things continued in that way all year. We had crappy roles to do like protein shakes, setting up therapy every damn day, clearing up therapy every damn day, cleaning and filling ice baths, running water on for rugby etc.

But as I already said, it was balanced out with good stuff. Coaching groups of players in the gym, running warm ups for speed and rugby, getting involved on Premiership and European match days, being mic’d up running water for the A-League getting coaches messages out to the players, working at stadiums like Franklin’s Gardens, The Stoop, The Rec, The Aviva Stadium, and the Holy Grail that is Twickenham.

With the players you have to get an understanding of the situation; these guys see new interns come in year on year, like a conveyor belt of over eager rugby and gym nauses trying to make their way in a new industry. One piece of advice I was told beforehand was – know your place. Don’t go in trying to tell them some new magic formula, because you don’t have it. And even if you did, why should they believe you? You’re an intern. They have a head S&C for a reason.

Some players accept you in straight away, some it takes time to earn their trust and respect. That’s just the way it’s going to be – so if you can’t handle that, then don’t do an internship. You’ll disappear half way through the year and your reference won’t come through next time you try to claim you worked at that club.

Another piece of advice I was given – make the most of it. Sounds simple doesn’t it, but being in a setting like this is something not a lot of people have the chance to do. So if you do one, ask questions, learn as much as you can to make you more employable at the end of your time. Network – use your contacts to make more, get in touch with people at other clubs, from other sports etc and ask if you can spend time with them. You’re more likely to get accepted this chance by already being in a good position, so reach out to people and get as much information and experience under your belt as you can.

It can sometimes be a little frustrating, especially when you are working a large amount of hours with no income, but the reward is worth it. For me the best way around these situations was to think about the amount of people who I beat to the role, those people who weren’t fortunate enough to land this opportunity, and to really recognize the fantastic structure I was a part of.

Internship or degree? Personally I would say do both. Neither of them individually will give you the total package, but together they could. So I would say do your degree, potentially try to find somewhere to work in your summers off that makes your CV look better by the time you leave, build up some qualifications and experience whilst you’re there, and then try to slot in to an internship wherever possible.

The degree will give you the knowledge, and the internship will piece together how to apply that in the most appropriate ways. You will arrive with gaps in your knowledge and your application, whether you think you do or not – you will, but you’ll leave a much more complete coach.

Another reason I think internships are a good option is because it allows you to see if it is really something you want to pursue. Some people may think they want to work in a team atmosphere, but when it comes down to it their coaching style may be more suitable for one-to-one work. This is one reason I tried so hard to get onto this internship, because I wanted to be sure that this was the career I wanted to pursue, and it has definitely confirmed that to me.

One other piece of advice I would give though, especially if you are a student reading this, is to make the most of your time! Try to fill your spare time with activities that will make you a better potential employee, this way you will be more likely to find something immediately out of uni. I had some coaching experience during university, but it took me another 2 years until I had enough relevant work experience under my belt to be considered for the position. So get some coaching qualifications, and more importantly – work your ass off to get experience doing the job you want to do.

I think that’s about all I have to say, I think I’ve covered everything I normally hear spoken about online or frequently get asked. To summarize, internships are definitely worth doing, be prepared to work hard – its not all about the glory of being involved but you have to show you are willing to do the hard yards to reap the rewards, your application knowledge will increase dramatically and you’ll start to think of things in a new way, and you will find out 100% if this is the career choice for you.

Thank you for reading, and if you have any questions regarding internships or anything else feel free to contact me.

Rob Nitman. BSc. ASCC.
Twitter – @nitman89        |        Instagram – @rob_nitman

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Oh the times they are a changing

Things are starting to shape up a little bit differently nowadays at Quins,

First off - Therapy has changed shape. So at the start of the year therapy looked like a load of mats laid out for individual players, with bands, balls etc available for use.
This then changed to it being structured into what they would be performing for the first 10 minutes to make sure every player is hitting the big target areas - Glutes, QL, hips etc.
Now it has changed again - it is now structured but also has three separate stations. The first is the individual mats with balls and bands, but the exercises and focus points have been decided by the coaches.
Second station is a foam rolling station, but again the focus is decided in advance.
Third they do some activation work, working on proprioception, ankle stability, knee stability, shoulder stability etc.

In my opinion there are pros and cons to this. Pros - we know exactly what everybody is working and know that at least something is getting done. Cons - It isn't specific to individual players. Some people have certain work ons that because if this new structure don't get hit as much as they would.
But its one of those things - sometimes its better just to make sure everyone is at least doing something constructive.

Moving on from there - it has been an interesting time recently in the fact that we have a lot of movers and shakers. Some players re-signing with the club, some leaving, and the announcement of some new signings for next season.
We've also got some time off coming up, because our failure to reach the next stage of both the ERC and the LV Cup, we now only have Premiership fixtures to focus on. As I write this I am about to have a whole week off, with a lot of the players taking the chance to go on Holiday (numerous off to Cancun for Spring Break - lucky buggers).

For us interns, as I mentioned in the last post, its about the next step. And things are looking up - I'll leave it at that


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

into 2015 we go

Ok. I have now proved that I am pretty poor at keeping up with these blogs. So I'm not going to bother trying to claim to get better at posting more regularly.

My last post was back at the start of December, a whole 2 months ago. And there has probably been a ton of interesting stuff that happened in this time.

So - lets get going shall we.

First up - the international players all came back from duty, and as expected they were pretty beat up. Thankfully no major injuries, but they all needed a bit of rest. This didn't happen though as they were straight back into European duty.

Now then - the European cup. The two games of this we played in December were back-to-back against Leinster. First up at The Stoop and despite being underdogs we overcame the odds to win. This was a really brilliant performance. Our defence was huge from start to finish, and we really put them under pressure. We also took our chances when they were handed to us.

I was lucky enough to go along to the away game. This was played at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. I've always wanted to go to Dublin, and I jumped at the opportunity. So I flew out a day after the squad, on the morning of the game. Working the game was incredible. The facilities they have at the stadium are fantastic, and the atmosphere was totally insane. Such a loud crowd and it was like a sea of blue in the stands.
Now - this trip ended in a bit of humiliation for me, as I went out on the town that night with some of the players, and last years Quins intern Ciaran - who happens to live nearby so knows the area very well.
This led to me missing my flight home. I slept through 4 alarms, yes 4! Waking up at 10:20, after my flight left the ground at 09:30. Awesome. So I booked myself a new flight and went home - with a very sore head.

Since then we have had a bit of a mixed bag in terms of performances. We've had some where we've looked fantastic, and others where we really don't. As a result, we are now out of the European Cup, and the LV Cup. Only leaving us with the Premiership to focus on. Which is bad in ways as it would be great to still have a shot at other competitions, but at the same time it is also good as we can focus on rising up the table to gain a Euro spot for next season.

The squad has also picked up a few more injuries recently, which is never good and hard to see. We've had a few new faces come through, a couple of props, a new scrum-half, and a back row player. It's kind of cool to have a few new faces about as it freshens things up a bit. But sad in that they came in to replace injured guys.

It's also the time of year where players are making career decisions for the future. A large number of guys have been re-signing at the club, which is great, but a couple have decided to move on elsewhere. Quins have also started looking outside for new people to bring in - such as the announcement of James Horwill, former Australia Captain, signing for after the 2015 World Cup. I personally think this is a really good signing and should sit in our pack quite well.

Personally speaking it's an odd time of year as Henry, Richie and myself are all starting to think about "What's Next?" I don't think there is going to be any opportunity to stay on at Quins unfortunately as I don't think any jobs will be opening up, so we have all started doing the daily scrolling through job sites like the UKSCA, UKSport, Times Education Supplement, BUCS and the LinkedIn Job Board. It gets a little tedious, but it has to be done as everyone in our position around the UK is in the same boat and looking for work. I've also been emailing around a few other clubs trying to see what might be opening up for the 15/16 season, but not having a lot of luck.

Ok, so I think we're now up to date.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy.

Please feel free to get in contact with thoughts (or job offers) ...



Monday, 1 December 2014


So as I started the last blog off by saying I hadn't blogged in a while, and that I was going to do it more frequently again, I think we can all determine that was a lie.

It has been around a month since my last confession ...

SO - What's New?

Like I'd said previously I'm going to try and bring something new to the table each time I blog about the internship. I'm sure you can all gather by the past editions that the training week doesn't really change very much - and that is still the same.
The only difference this last month training wise has been two things -
1 - The selected players have been away on International Duty (for us that was England & Fiji)
2 - We've had a whole bunch of Friday night games.

These changes things up in a couple of ways -
1 - the players being away means we have less numbers at training, and also means the starting 15 is a little different to normal so our attendees in certain sessions change.
2 - the Friday night games alter our entire week. So we have big days on Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday off as normal, Thursday is run through, then Friday game. Unselected players will also train Friday morning along with the Academy players.
We have also been doing recovery sessions on two of the Sundays this month. These have been down at Locker 27 where the owner is kind enough to let us use the facility to train the players. It's nice to have a change of scenery for us and for them. Keeps things a little more interesting.

As I type this we're expecting the International players back tomorrow from duty, and I'm actually really interested to see what kind of shape they come back in. I think it will be cool to see how much different they feel after International duty compared to Domestic. Kind of compare their morning readiness scores, and see how beat up they are compared to when they normally rock up after playing in the Premiership.
I remember after a couple of the European games some of the boys seemed a little more sore, so I'm assuming it will be another step up from that.
We shall see.

On to other interesting things:
One thing I found out a few weeks ago is that the Academy players get given cooking lessons from our resident Chef. It's something that has been brought in by the Team Manager (I think, not 100% on that though) to help them develop not only as athletes but outside of sport too. Obviously it will have carry over to their performances if they are consistently eating better meals, but I think it is good that the club are helping to provide for them in terms of life-skills as well as athletically.
They so far have done evening learning about beef meals, chicken meals, and also fish meals.
Pretty good idea in my opinion.

I've also had the chance recently to work a couple of games.
The first being a home game to Sale. Unfortunately we lost (which happened to break my lucky streak of not losing any game I attended). In my opinion we should not have lost this game. We had a good team out, and looked strong in patches, but just couldn't do a lot. I also happen to think the Referee was absolutely terrible - not giving us a penalty in open play until the 78th minute tells you something! But it's easy to point the finger at the man in the middle when you lose.
I also went along to the game away to Bath. I was helping out Dennis the kit man as none of his minions were available.
This was a pretty cool experience as I got to see what goes on behind the scenes from his perspective - setting up the hotel room, setting up the changing rooms, setting up basically everything! He is one busy man and I'm not really sure the players quite understand how much he really does. He gets through a lot of work that I think people just assume happens magically. Fair play to him.
This happened to be the game that Bath's Superstar signing got his first run out - a certain Sam Burgess. The only way I can explain what it was like when he ran out is comparing it a concert. You get a bit of noise when the support acts come out to play, but then when the headline act come out everybody gets fucking insane and loses their shit screaming the place down. Yeah it was like that. The whole stadium went absolutely nuts! I think it's the only reason the game was sold-out!
To be fair to him, he is a large human! I stood next to him and felt small. Well I say that, he's not like a man-mountain or anything, I'd say we're pretty similar. He's maybe an inch taller, but the fact is that he is pretty damn lean! This makes him look huge! I mean he weighs a little more than me, but he looks so much bigger because of the fact he's a muscular monster!
I reckon he's going to have a pretty good run in Union. I think he a natural athlete, a bit like Sonny-Bill in that he will transfer his own skill set and adapt it union, rather than try to become a completely different player.
Just my opinion.

Ok - so this time I really am going to try my best to keep this updated a little bit more and give some insight.

Hope you are still enjoying reading.

If you have any feedback, please please please send me and email because I'd love to get some opinions.



Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Catch up

OK! So I haven't written any updates to the internship in forever it seems!
To those of you who are regular readers - I apologise. I should have kept it up better.

My excuse is that I've been nursing an injury. On the 3rd October I dislocated my patella at rugby training, and it locked up due to a meniscus tear preventing my knee from moving like it should.
So I've now had surgery - blah blah blah. If you want details on this - go check out my other blog:

SO ... The Internship!
I have still been able to go in to help where I can. It has limited me being injured, but I can still help with the admin side of things, and to be in the weights room (not so involved as I can't really spot too good), doing protein shakes etc.

In terms of learning, the biggest thing that has been noticeable of late, mostly since the start of the regular season I guess, is the amount of changes that get made according the players. Some days they will come in feeling fresh, some days they come in beat up as hell so Gaz (head of S&C) alters either the entire group or individual players' plans according to how they feel that day. For instance if someone comes in with lower back pain and was due to do lower body weights, it will most likely change to upper body weights or just be sent down to the medical team. There is no "One Size Fits All" mentality whatsoever - which is 100% necessary in my opinion. These guys are all completely different as to what they can/can't tolerate, so it's massively important to have things tailored.

One of the more frustrating things is how sometimes things DON'T get tailored.
You're probably a bit confused considering what I've just said prior, BUT I'm now talking about rugby training. We feed back information to the medical team, and certain players who get "Red Flagged" if they're monitoring comes back that they're fucked also get mentioned the skills coaches, but a lot of the time it doesn't seem to have a lot of difference. It will just be "Well stop him once he reaches about 1.5-2k of running". And I suppose in some ways that's a good thing as they always want the players to be involved - BUT sometimes you just wish they could say "yeah ok let him rest".
I know I'm not the only one who thinks this, but unfortunately in this kind of environment I think it's the only real way of dealing with it as there is so much pressure to perform (plus the fact we have a small squad).

Another thing I've found interesting is how the squad react to wins or losses. As a squad we've had both, and the players react very differently. Sometimes after a loss they've come in and you can tell they've lost. Whereas other times they come in and it's like "well it's happened now - let's just move on" and they almost forget it ever happened.
Honestly - I don't know which is best. I mean everyone knows you learn a ton of information from losing, and as long as you learn from it I guess it doesn't matter whether you just move on from it, or whether you dwell on it. Every time I try to decide which one I prefer I counter argue myself. So I'll just say "Whatever works for you".

Performance wise - we're starting to look a bit more like the Quins of old. In our win at the weekend against Wasps in the new European Champions Cup or whatever the hell its called now we looked good in large amounts. We scored tries, and creating chances, through our open and expansive style. We also had a really good defensive performance, with a hard line press and tenacity at the breakdown. It was very good to see.

We're 2 from 2 in Europe, and we're 3/6 in the premiership. It could be worse. The squad is coming together nicely.

Other stuff from the internship - right now I'm starting to think a lot about what I want to afterwards. And it's probably mostly due to the fact that I'm injured and sat around doing fuck all after surgery, but I'm trying to come up with some options or ideas as to how I'm going to progress after Quins to continue my journey. Obviously the best outcome would be to get into a job in Rugby Union in the UK getting paid. That would be ideal. If not - getting paid overseas. Or getting paid in general.
But I also have a lot of options in terms of branching out and getting some more voluntary stuff under my belt to build a CV and help push myself forward in terms of knowledge etc so that people will want to employ me.
Those reading this - hit me up if you have any options or ideas!!! (

Right I think I'm done here.
I'm going to try keep these plenty regular again from now on, and I'll try to keep stuff varied.

Til then

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Week 11, 12 & 13

Internship Life.
Week 11, 12 & 13.
01/09/14 - 20/09/14

We are now 3 weeks in to the season.
3 games.
2 wins.
1 loss.

Not a bad start, but very far from perfect.

If you follow rugby, and in particular if you follow Quins, you will know what I mean when I say far from perfect. The first game against London Irish at Twickenham on the 6th September as part of the London Double Header was a pretty cool occasion. I wasn't working the game, Richie had the pleasure of running out at Twickenham this time. Lucky bastard. But I did go to watch.
The first game was a lot more interesting than I anticipated as Wasps gave Saracens a very close game and only lost out in the closing minutes.
Then our game - in the first half we looked very dominant and put some decent structure in place and looked confident. Then in the second half we collapsed. Penalties all went against us, we had players sin-binned etc. But we still came out winners.
Training this week was very interesting for me as you could tell that all the players were so keen and eager to get into game day. There was another huge buzz around training, everyone seemed very happy and also very focused. It was a really great atmosphere to work in, and you could see people talking little bits and bobs about structure and tactics when wandering around whereas before that was only in meetings and training. Everything became about this one game.
In terms of our training week, it didn't change a huge amount from how we had prepared for Pre-Season fixtures. Monday and Tuesday were the main grunt days, with therapy, skills, speed, weights and rugby. Then the players get Wednesdays off. Thursday is a fairly regular day, therapy, weights, rugby. Friday changes though as instead of being a full training day it was now a run-through day. This meant the players involved in the game would be at The Stoop doing some basic plays and running through their general patterns for the game the next day. Players not involved had some S&C stuff at SSP but pretty much just a regular weights session and optional conditioning.
So yeah as I said, nothing too different except the structure of the week and the layout workload wise.

Week 2 - Saracens at home.
Not really a lot to say about this. We lost and lost big. And worst of all, we scored a big fat ZERO points. Not good at all. I again wasn't working this game, Henry had it, and I imagine the atmosphere was pretty strange among the bench and staff etc.
This presented something pretty interesting to me in that I wondered how the players and staff would react and adjust things at training. I remember from playing that when we used to lose, and even more so when we lost big, we would get a right flogging and all the coaches would spend all the training that week trying to get us up for the following game to put things right.
But this is a much different atmosphere to anything I've done before, and you can tell. On Monday the whole thing was basically already buried and put in the past. A one-off. The one of which we do not speak.
The week was slightly different this week. First off the dreaded HotPod Yoga showed up again on the schedule on Monday. Forgot how much of a pain in the arse this thing is. But it's only once a week so not the end of the World. The next big difference was the week structure as it was a Friday night game. So the players still did their main work on Monday & Tuesday, Wednesday was off, Thursday was the run through, and the only players around on the Friday were those players not involved in the game - again just for some weights and conditioning. These days are quite good for us interns as 1-it gives us an extra day to earn money if we have work & 2-if we go in it gives us the opportunity to work quite closely with players as there aren't too many in on these days so it's close to one-to-one work.
Another new thing this week was the "A-League" game on Monday night. We had a fixture against Wasps "A" at The Stoop. I was the intern working this game, and I really enjoyed it. There wasn't much of a crowd but it was a good experience for me as I got to have a mic and ear-piece whilst running water, getting given messages from the coaches to feedback to the players when I ran on. Gives you an insight into how things run on a regular game-day as it's very similar - just up a notch or two. The "A-League" is designed for Premiership sides to blood young players and give them a bit of exposure. It allows these players the chance to show the things they've learnt in training without all the pressure of the Premiership. Plus - it is used a little bit of a stepping stone to see who has what it takes at that level as you get a lot of returning players from injury so it's not all up and comers but some pretty big names play in these games when coming back.
We won the game and put in a fairly decent performance which pleased the coaches as the players responded very well to all the messages being fed to them .

Week 3 - Wasps.
The week leading up to this was very much the same as the others. Nothing overly new came into place, the only difference now is that a lot more tailoring happens in the gym sessions as players come back in different condition - some really beat up, some pretty fresh. So it's about adjusting work-load to best fit their condition on the day.
The Wasps game itself was really good. I got myself some tickets from the club and went along to watch, I ended up sitting with all the lads not involved in the game (the injured or unused). That was pretty cool as otherwise I was going to be sat on my tod. Plus it let me see what the players are like when they're not playing, and how they treat the games as a spectator.
We won the game, but it ended up being closer than it maybe should have been. We had an ok first half performance, then when we came out for the second half we had a really positive 20 minutes or so. The performance looked very much like the Quins we want to see, very free-flowing and attractive rugby, but with big defensive performances.
The final 20 minutes or so we started to drift off a little and Wasps came back into the game to eventually be 2 points behind at the final whistle. It was always going to be a close game as it always is between these two teams, but it was very good to see the lads respond so well to the loss the week before, and to see them finally play the way they want to again. That hadn't been seen since the first half against London Irish in week 1.

So hopefully this week the mood will be pretty good, and then we have a big challenge next week going to Exeter on Sunday. Exeter have looked very strong so far - they thrashed London Welsh in week 1, lost narrowly to Leicester in week 2, and they beat Gloucester on Friday night. So this could be a great game to watch. Unfortunately as it's an away game none of the interns get to go and help, but the following week against London Welsh I get to have my first Prem Game. Should be fun.

So there you have it folks, a little look into how things change when the competitive season starts. The biggest thing I would say is the adjustments that get made to allow for players' recovery and progression.

Hope you all still enjoy reading, any feedback is always welcome as I know it can get a little samey but I will try to keep it as fresh as possible and show you all what goes on.