This week we have enjoyed our first bye of the season. Having been put through three particularly physical matches in the past three weeks, there are a lot of tired and sore bodies within the squad and the bye is very timely.
The coaches have given us a few days off to freshen up which gives guys the chance to spend quality time with their families, others a chance to catch up with Mum and Dad, while a few even take the opportunity to get away and put their feet up before resuming training at the end of the week.
Taking advantage of the chance to rejuvenate during the season is vital. We have great coaching and athletic development staff that assist to monitor how our bodies are travelling and what is the best course of action for the bye week.
Having been at ‘the Home of the Western Force’ during the week and having spoken to a number of supporters after the match and since then, it’s fantastic to see everyone still buzzing after our win over the Chiefs.
I have been here since 2010, this was the first time I have been a part of a winning Force team against the Chiefs.
We have been working extremely hard for a long time now and to defeat such a high quality and star-studded team like the Chiefs is great reward for the work that has gone on last year, during the pre-season and into 2014.
Saturday’s tense finish was followed by sheer jubilation when the final whistle was blown. I was so excited I found myself jumping from player to player not knowing who to hug next to congratulate and celebrate with.
Our lock, Wilhelm Steenkamp, clearly felt the same way but in his attempt to embrace every team member accidentally grabbed a hold of the Chiefs’ Tom Marshall.
While I’m sure the Chiefs centre was hardly in the mood to celebrate, he was kind enough to play along (possibly not least of which was due to Wilhelm’s imposing two-metre frame!)
Saturday night’s match was again a reflection of the strong belief we are developing within the group. Being able to close out the 18-15 result after leading by the same margin with 18 minutes to go against the reigning champions was a feather in the cap for our team.
In previous years we may have been guilty of letting those leads slip, and there’s no doubt this gives the squad further confidence moving forward.
In saying that, we still have a long season ahead of us. While we’ve been pleased with our recent performances, our coach Michael Foley has correctly pointed out that we still haven’t achieved the four wins and a draw we did last year.
We can’t afford to get ahead of ourselves and we know that the tired sporting cliché of ‘a week at a time’ must ring true if we’re going to realise the success that we want to.
Once we return from the bye our attention turns to playing the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.
It’s always a great challenge coming up against the domestic teams; and with more than just Australian pride on the line, we know that toppling fellow countrymen assists helping climb within the Australian conference.