Will of the Week V

Brain gym for Saxons ahead of cup final

Well it may not have been quite the performance we wanted but we got the result we were after.

There’s plenty for us to work on but we’ve got to balance that with trying to stay fresh so this week will be more about exercising our brains than our bodies.

The 34-12 win over Ireland A means we’re through to the final against Scotland A on Saturday and we’ve got the chance to defend our title.

I wasn’t selected for this game but watching from the sidelines, Ireland were pretty much what we expected. They put a lot of pressure on us by competing well for the ball and slowing things down. We knew the referee Andrew McPherson from our first game. Again, he wasn’t too strict at the breakdown so we had to deal with that, but I thought we did pretty well in adapting.

I was impressed with our back three too, not that I’m an expert but they seemed to work really well together. Nick Abendanon deserved the man of the match award, Bannars (Matt Banahan) got two tries and Ugo (Monye) scored a top try too. All three of them have played for England Sevens before and I think it showed. In fact, there’s quite a few others who have too, Guesty (Tom Guest), Tom Biggs and Ben Foden. The skills you need for sevens are a real help in the fast, expansive style rugby we’re trying to play.

One of our physios, Doug, is heading home tomorrow as he’s getting married on Saturday so we made sure he didn’t go home without joining the boys for a few drinks after the game.

Although Davey Wilson didn’t know it at the time, he had even more to celebrate as he was called up by the senior squad the following morning after Andy Sheridan got injured. I’m really pleased for Davey, we’ve played together since England Under 16s so I’ve known him for years. He’s a great bloke and he thoroughly deserves it.

We all had a chance to wish him good luck at the airport yesterday when he flew off to New Zealand as we came here to Chicago. All except Ryan Lamb that is, he’s pretty sharp on the pitch but yesterday he didn’t even realise Davey was missing until we got to Chicago! That’s Lamby for you…

Speaking of Chicago, we were expecting to arrive in the rain after our flight was delayed for an hour because of bad storms here. But things have been OK so far, apart from half our bags not arriving with us. We were a bit worried for a while (not just for our boots but our shopping too!) but luckily though they came over on the next plane so we were reunited last night.

It wouldn’t actually have mattered much today as we’re not training at all. Instead we’ve got a couple of video analysis sessions. Like us, the Scots have played two games so by the time we play we’ll know a fair amount about them by the end of the week.

We might even get a bit of time to watch the last game in this week’s baseball series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago Cubs. I wasn’t really into baseball before we came here but last Friday afternoon the Blue Jays invited us to watch their batting practice. Chutes (George Chuter) is a big fan so he explained some of the basics to us and we got to meet Joe Inglett, one of their players and all got baseballs to take home.

There were five of us who weren’t involved in the Ireland game so we stayed to watch the evening’s game and we really got into it! I sat next to this Canadian guy who explained all the scoring. The Cubs are the best team in the world at the moment but the Blue Jays beat them, scoring back-to-back home runs which is apparently very rare.

Perhaps we brought them luck. Whatever it was, hopefully we’ve saved some for Saturday’s final. We came here to win the title, now it’s two down and one to go.

Cheers

Will

With thanks to www.rfu.com