With league rugby starting for our senior teams this weekend head coach Rory Couper took a look back on the progress the squad has made over preseason.
After two months off for a well deserved rest after a tough season, the Accies boys regrouped at the start of June to begin their preseason. The focus this year was to increase their running cardio and speed endurance while developing the core skills required to play the basic game of rugby at pace. The boys were put through their paces in Session one with a number of fitness tests to determine where they were and where they would like to get to.
After six weeks with a number of hard sessions and some early Saturday mornings that included deep sand, hills and steps the boys were again tested to monitor their progress. The results were excellent. All the players made significant gains averaging higher scores in all three aspects of fitness; speed, speed endurance and cardio respiratory endurance.
Phase two of preseason (after a week off for recovery) saw an increase in positional, unit and team skills, tactics and the introduction of full contact. Instead of battering each other, the three preseason games (Kilmarnock, Carrick & Peebles) were deemed as extra training sessions where we could practice what we had done in the training paddock under real pressure versus a live opposition. With two excellent performances showing real intensity versus Kilmarnock and Carrick, the boys then struggled versus a large Peebles team allowing the boys to see the intensity they still required to to get to to achieve their season goals. Phase two finished with the cup game versus Hillhead/Jordanhill. With the cup not being the main priority this year the overall result was not overly important but the performance was what was needed before the league campaign started. Sadly it was a very wet night and the game was interrupted with numerous errors from both teams. Although the team did show that the fitness training paid off coming strong in the final quarter of the game but sadly too late to take a winning scalp of a team they beat three times last year and who are in the same league this year. The win will have to wait until he league!
Phase three is now the league competition and I am looking forward to the new challenges. National Three will be an extremely difficult league with some quality teams and plenty of travelling. The squad has pulled together well and it is great to see the introduction of a number of young players who have impressed through the preseason. As a team we know that the challenge ahead is a difficult one but we believe if we play to our potential we will be in a strong position by the end of the season.
I hope to see your support during the season at Memorial Field and hopefully on our travels.