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Charlie Matthew's Portugal diary: Day 1

30 November 2010

Harlequins’ 19-year-old lock Charlie Matthews is currently studying Sports Science at Loughborough College, but the England Under 20 star has taken time out of his studies to travel with the rest of Rob Hunter’s squad to the sunnier climes of Portugal for a training camp.

In the first edition of his daily diary, Charlie tells RFU.com about his less than comfortable flight over and how training has gone so far.

England Under 20 player Charlie Matthews

Photo: Getty Images

I’m pleased to have arrived in Portugal, it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a while. It will give us the chance to bond as a squad as well as providing an opportunity to work on different areas of our game that we’re going to be using throughout the season.

The flight over was a bit cramped for me to be honest – I was stuck between my fellow second rowers Kieran Low and Addison Lockley, so as you can imagine, there wasn’t much room to move.

Fortunately I’ve known Kieran since I was 10 so it was good to have a nice catch up, even if it was pretty cosy. We started to watch a film called ‘How High’ but my laptop battery ran out so I had to resort to giving Kieran a geography lesson because he had no idea where Portugal was – I had to draw him a little picture.

When we arrived at our base in Portugal most of us were pretty hungry so it was good to see a lot of chicken on the menu, that filled us up nicely before we watched footage of all the lads from the squad who have gone on to make Aviva Premiership appearances. It was good to see that because it proves that we have got a talented squad and that the hard work is all worthwhile.

I’m rooming with Matt Everard, who I go to Loughborough with, and we get on pretty well. He’s not a bad roommate but he was texting his girlfriend until quite late last night so I had to give him a bit of stick about that. He hadn’t even been away from her for a day.

Cracking on with the hard training

Today we cracked on with the hard training. We had a nice early start – something I’m definitely not use to as a student. We had a fitness test first thing which wasn’t pretty, tougher than pre-season training in my eyes! But it’s something we had to do and I know how important it is so I’m happy to do it.

We then had a couple of good sessions, everyone was pretty switched on and we learnt all our phases and different plays so it was very useful – there’s definitely a good vibe about the camp.

After training a few of us went for a swim, we’ve been told that we have to wear swimming caps. I think it’s fair to say that they don’t suit the boys, but rules are rules.

As for tonight, I’m looking forward to snuggling up with Will Collier and Matt Everard and watching a film.

Speak to you tomorrow,

Charlie