Getting caught up in the distractions is a gamble we can't take
Pat McCabe Photo: STUART WALMSLEY
IT'S AMAZING how much you learn about your teammates when you spend every minute of every day with them on tour.
One of the biggest challenges for this young group was always going to be avoiding falling into the trap of relaxing when we arrived in South Africa last week.
It's easy to relax when you have every meal catered for and someone makes your bed and cleans your room every morning.
Sometimes that can transfer into your performance on the field, but before we left Canberra we spoke about how focused we needed to be to have a successful tour.
One thing we made clear before we arrived was that we're here to win, not for a holiday.
We've spent the past week at the Palazzo Hotel in the Monte Casino complex just outside the heart of Johannesburg.
It's a great place, but there are so many distractions and temptations for players which can hinder a preparation.
To score five tries against the Bulls in Pretoria last week and lose is incredibly frustrating.
Our defence was strong and we held them to just two tries while we feel our attack is starting to find its rhythm.
This is my third tour of South Africa with the Brumbies and I haven't been to Johannesburg before.
I thought this would be a good opportunity to give you an insight to what characters have emerged on this trip.
Every squad which I have been a part of is different. In the current group we've got 13 tour rookies and their individual personalities are coming out.
Sam Carter is one who comes to mind. In less than two weeks we've already discovered his dress sense is horrendous.
There's a distinct lack of variety and it's like he only brought two outfits with him.
Nic White likes to niggle and annoy people, Ita Vaea looks after the music on the bus and in the gym and for a change up Scott Fardy provides a 60s-80s mix.
Fards's choice of music doesn't sit well with everyone and I don't even know most of the songs.
There's also a bit of a hierarchy on the bus.
When I first joined the team I was up the front just behind the physiotherapists and team staff.
Now I've made my way down the back with the experienced guys and everyone has their set seats on the bus.
Finally, anyone who knows me realises I'm not up to date with technology.
So I was surprised when Steve Moore, who I'm told is a quite a big deal on Twitter, informed me that my comments last week about South Africa being 'half paced' didn't go down well.
I was surprised because I was so shocked that people actually read my article, especially as far away as South Africa.
But more importantly, because I never set out to offend anyone and didn't give enough consideration to how the comment would be read.
South Africa is my favourite place to tour in world rugby.
Both for the sights and sounds which as so unique to South Africa, to the incredible people who have a deep love for rugby and respect for the game. Hopefully my many South African friends can forgive me for my slip up.
Pat McCabe is an ACT Brumbies and Wallabies centre