Most people think of this time of year as the Rugby off-season, but we’ve been back at Worcester for 6 weeks now, working hard and getting ready for September.
It was a real shame for me to miss the Junior World Championships after surgery on my shoulder, but I’ve been pleased with how quickly it has recovered. It still aches a bit every now and then, but my rehab has gone really well and I’ve started doing contact again.
The first couple of weeks of pre-season were all-out conditioning, with lots of gym and fitness work, plenty of running and hill sprints and gruelling exercises like that. The first week back is always pretty tough, but we’re getting into the Rugby more now, with contact sessions, attacking drills, getting our moves and calls sorted out, so it’s more mentally stimulating.
We’ve got a new coaching team headed up by Richard Hill, with Nigel Redman, Phil Vickery, Phil Larder and Mathieu Rourre, so there’s a lot going on and a lot of new ideas and the whole club is buzzing.
There are some new faces in the playing squad as well, such as Jon Andresws, who has come in from Exeter – he’s a great character in the group and has looked sharp in training. Dean Schofield from Toulon brings a lot of experience, Number 8 Semisi Taulava has come in from Rotherham who is just huge, and then there’s guys like Paul Hodgson, Jon Clarke and Josh Matavesi in the backs who have all played a huge amount of top class rugby between them.
All the new boys have come in and are making their mark on training. They fit in really well and everyone has bought into what we are trying to achieve in the Aviva Premiership and other competitions this season.
To be honest, it was a bit of a shock to be called up to the Saxons last week. I enjoyed last season and gained valuable playing experience, however missing the U20s tour was disappointing, so I was quite surprised to be included. I’m now really excited to get started and meet all the boys.
We have a camp in August up in Loughborough with all the players in the Elite squad and the Saxons, so I’m just looking forward to that really. There is so much competition in the Saxons squad from experienced guys like James Haskell and Carl Fearns, so I’m not looking too far ahead.
Playing as well as I can for Worcester and getting my shoulder back to 100% is the key priority at the moment. There’s also a lot of back row competition at the club, which is great for Worcester, but it makes getting in the team a lot harder!
I’ve not been around that long, and I’m still finding my feet and trying to impress to become a more permanent player in the starting line-up. If I get selected regularly and concentrate on my game, we’ll see what happens in the future, but I can’t wait for the season to get started again.
By Matt Kvesic