It has been another busy week down at the training ground in Aldershot.
We have seen the arrival of Josh Taumalolo and George Harder, as well as the return to training of Chris Bell, Ugo Monye, Paul Burke, Henry Barrett and Andy Reay, all of whom had been away on international duty earlier in the summer.
Having returned to training relatively early, those players that have been back since 30th June will have a four-day break next week, before we start the first real contact training next Friday. The later arrivals will have the pleasure of undertaking a fitness programme with both Paul Pook and Dave Bell.
However, Paul Burke will be away next week with the Ireland squad on a fitness camp in Poland, and when they return from there they will have a further rugby camp in Athlone, as they start their preparations for their Rugby World Cup warm-up fixtures at the end of August.
It was also good to see Will Greenwood visit the training ground earlier today and take part in the tag rugby that has become such an important part of our early season training. Will, along with Jason Leonard, will be joining up with the England squad at the Penny Hill Park Hotel on Monday, and we wish them all the very best as they start their preparations for the World Cup.
With the players away for the first four days next week, it will be an ideal time for the management team to take stock of how our training has gone to date, to complete the planning for our trip to France in August, and to put the detail into our rugby training programme that will lead us through to the opening Zurich Premiership game against last seasons champions London Wasps on 13th September at the Stoop.
Over the next two weeks we will see the return of Laurent Gomez, Ace Tiatia (it has been very quiet without him!) and Tani Fuga, as well as the arrival of Mike Worsley, who is currently having a well earned break after being away for some seven weeks with England in New Zealand, Canada, America and Japan.
It is very easy to say that things are going well in pre-season training, as spirits are always high at this time of the year. We have not lost any games, no player has been dropped and everyone believes that they will be in the team to play London Wasps on 13th September.
Having said that, the levels of fitness and the skill, technique and attitude to training have been first class, but there will be 11 other clubs in the Premiership who will say exactly the same.
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