The Ireland defeat last week was a blow for us, and a bit of a shock to be honest. As a team we just didn’t turn up and play as we know we can. Unfortunately, that cost us the game and Ireland ran out quite convincing winners in the end. We felt stifled, and weren’t comfortable for much of the game. There was a game plan in place that wasn’t executed, and we’ve slipped up in a game we were hoping to win.
Still, we’re still in with a shot in the championship and hopefully by collecting a win in our next game we can still be firm contenders. The recovery starts on the training ground, at least for our championship ambitions. Time and time again we’ve just got to ensure we put in the work in training, having that attitude and motivation to treat every training day like game day and walking away knowing we’ve put a shift in.
The team as a whole are experienced enough to be able to handle, and pick up from, a defeat like this and those that are experiencing it for the first time are always learning from the senior guys in how to improve. Needless to say, there’s a healthy atmosphere in camp and we’re all here to work and train hard together.
Leading by example, Sam Warburton and Alun Wyn-Jones are two of those senior boys that can speak from the experience of defeat to pick up the shoulders of our less experienced players. The best way to learn as a youngster is through those who can share their tips through common experiences, and in the Wales teams there’s plenty ready to put arms on shoulders. The boys who haven’t gone through a defeat like that find it really helpful, which is great.
This week it’s onto domestic rugby, and a few of the boys have gone back to play with their clubs this weekend, giving us time to recuperate from our recent defeat as a country and learn from our mistakes. Time away from international duty is good in providing us with downtime and keeps our minds off a bad game, so it’ll certainly be helpful. We’ve had time to go home and see our family, away from a rugby atmosphere, which is a welcome change in terms of our family values. On the other hand, we all wouldn’t mind playing our next game soon so we can prove to ourselves, and our fans, that we’ve put the loss behind us. We’re close, as any team could ask to be, so those days we’re in camp still feel like we’re with family.
We’ll be back in camp on Sunday picking up where we left off. The boys will be fresh, both in body and mind, so I’m expecting as hard a session as ever. We’re ready to put last weekend behind us, and we’re not prepared to go down without a fight, be it on game day or not.
Column exclusively brought to you by Under Armour athlete and WRU back row forward, Taulupe Faletau.