The England Sevens head coach reports from Wellington, where his side face New Zealand (02:12GMT), the USA (05:30) and Spain (07:50) on Friday, the first day of the Hertz Sevens. Coverage on Sky Sports 4 starts at 06:00.
IT’S BEEN a good week here in Wellington in the build up to the next leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series. I've never had weather quite as good here as it is now so it's made the squad’s early morning swim in the sea a lot more bearable.
Photo: Getty Images
That daily swim has been a bit of a tradition for the squad since our win here in 2009 and another of the things we do that help us get over jet lag and the travel fatigue from the flight and in the best shape to play.
A lot is made of jet lag and its effects and we have spent an inordinate amount of time over the years gaining knowledge and insight into it. We’ve talked to groups and individuals that have to cope with it on a regular basis, including orchestras, pilots and Formula 1 teams. What we have learned and the protocols we have put in place have led to our recovery times dropping dramatically.
For this trip we have a 13-hour time difference and around 30 hours travel time to NZ, so there are two things to deal with: travel fatigue and getting our sleep patterns back to normal.
It takes 72 hours to get most of the squad sleeping right which means we can get some good training done here pretty quickly.
A couple of things we do are unique to us so I'm not going to talk about them here but in general terms it's about getting diet, sleep, hydration and light to the right levels at the right times. It's something we do very well.
It's also been good to get a few of the wounded – like Mat Turner and Christian Lewis-Pratt – back in the squad, and although we will ease them into everything, their enthusiasm has been fantastic and I can't fault the team’s energy this week.
So, this weekend we have as an exciting start as possible: playing the hosts in Wellington in the first game. That gives the England lads good focus and a chance to get into their stride early. We have used that word 'excited' a lot this week because it’s been very obvious that's how we are!
We’re always amazed at the amount of support on twitter and elsewhere we get, so thank you to all our supporters and keep cheering and shouting for us.
We’ve also had a lot of support from within the England ranks. The senior, age group and women's players and coaches are all connected and behind us as we are behind them. Good luck to the women’s sevens side in Houston, the age group, Saxons and women's sides this weekend and of course to Stuart Lancaster and the senior squad in the Calcutta Cup.
I’ve had some great input on and off the field from various coaches in the England sides and feel very grateful for their support. As ever, the game is about execution, clarity and mental toughness.
As Charles Dickens put it, "Plant nothing else, and root out everything else." Keep it simple, stay connected on the field and go out and play to your potential. Excited? You bet.
Come on England!