Every member of the U.S. Sevens squad is getting super excited because the days are counting down to the start of the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco -- it is only a week away! After thinking about it for so long, we are now so close to that first game in the biggest Sevens tournament in the world being staged at AT&T Park on July 20-22.
We head to San Francisco early next week having been training, doing three sessions a day, at our base in San Diego. We start at around 7:30 a.m. and the first activity is in the gym or on the pitch at 8 a.m. It could be a defensive structure day or fitness and the sessions range from 45-90 minutes.
There is always a good break before the next session but one thing I don't do is the ice bath. It is just too cold for me and even when I have to ice my shoulder I can only leave it on for two or three minutes because I just don't get on with the cold.
The coaches are always on about using the ice baths but I tell them it just doesn't do anything for me because my body is tense all the time with the cold. Of course, other guys don't have any problem jumping in but it's one thing you won't find me doing!
We get food during the day at the training camp in Chula Vista and being a bit of a picky eater I am much happier at home than on tour. I love my medium-rare steaks and chicken while lasagne is my favourite food. The guys who are based at the camp have dinner there but I live 30 minutes north in Mission Valley so I eat at home which allows me to get a break and clear my mind.
I can't say the coaches are happy -- when are they ever happy -- but as a squad we have been totally focussed on being able to show we are a top four team. We had a couple of weeks break after the World Rugby Sevens Series ended and then everyone came back into camp really pumped and excited for the build up to the Rugby World Cup Sevens.
There was a different kind of atmosphere right from the start and it is now at the stage where we are counting down the days until it all starts in San Francisco. The fans will be able to see what is involved in being part of this U.S. Sevens team when the special Pioneers film comes out next week. It takes you behind the scenes and into the heart of our preparations to try and become World Cup winners.
The Rugby World Cup Sevens is creating lots of interest in the game in the U.S. and with the Eagles doing so well in 15s and the first season of Major League Rugby having just held its first playoff final, the game is getting lots of exposure.
Sponsors are running grassroots clinics and as a squad we love to get out with the kids. It is great to see the youngsters really enthused and able to work with the players they have idolized. It really is a lot of fun for us.
One of the big challenges coaching rugby compared to all the other sports in the U.S. is that the ball is different and we don't throw it. When you play baseball, American Football and basketball you are throwing the ball but in rugby you need to learn how to push the pass and spin the ball and that is something our coach [Mike Friday] has been great at explaining.
Because we are showing them the skills for sevens rugby it means we don't have to deal with the kicking on the run which is such a difficult skill for the guys who are playing the 15s game. It is different from kicking an American football because you are on the move. That is why I am much happier just running with the ball.