The Sharks can’t seem to get away from wet weather, and Sydney, known and renowned for its great weather is caught in the grip of a cold front that brings intermittent rain on and off all day long.
Michael Marnewick of www.sharksrugby.co.za reports from Sydney.
Tuesday’s training takes place in alternating cold driving rain and glimpses of sunshine. The club ground is where Randwick play some of their games and the Lions who are in town to play the Waratahs are also using the facilities. It necessitates a change in the usual training time but there is no conflict as the Sharks are gone before the Lions arrive.
The great news is that while captain Johann Muller did burst his eardrum in the Highlanders match, a specialist has confirmed that there is no damage to the bones in his ear and he has been cleared to play on the weekend.
It’s funny how things turn out. Wednesday’s are the Sharks’ day off. There is only so much physical work you can do before it becomes counter-productive, and wear and tear – especially in the middle and towards the end of a season – increases with the amount of fitness work being undertaken.
For the Lions, losing last week means a non-stop week of training, including Wednesday. For the Sharks it’s the usual and everyone sets off to do sight-seeing or shopping at the six-story Bondi Junction Mall about 20 minutes away from Coogee.
The hotel business centre has free internet so the players spent much of their free time chatting to loved ones and catching up on news from back home.
Tuesday evening is dinner evening and the squad and management break up into four groups and each head-off on their own way to sample some of the city’s finest cosmopolitan cuisine.
This is not only the opportunity to unwind and enjoy a social activity but also to get team-spirit and team-building going as smaller groups encourage more social interaction and each player has the opportunity of learning more about his team-mates. Beast tells stories of his eating habits – there aren’t too many dietary restrictions for the flank-turned-prop – and he takes full advantage of this to full his massive frame.
Frederic Michalak talks about his iconic status in France where he can’t even enjoy a cup of coffee without being swamped by adoring fans of both sexes. In a country where Rugby Union takes a back seat to AFL (Aussie Rules) and League, he is totally anonymous and enjoys a bit of “me-time”. Room-mate Adi Jacobs is a great source of info in finding out more about Fred. He explains how Fred’s music abilities are outstanding and that he has a really good voice – Fred mixes his own music!
Lunch-time brings an interesting interlude to the day-to-day routine of travel, especially in the case of scrumhalf Rory Kockott. He might not be the size of a big forward, but certainly has a decent appetite. He loves his sandwiches and creates some master-pieces in what resembles something of a ritual.
Each layer is carefully thought-out and the making of the sandwich seems to be enjoyed just as much as eating it. He makes the comment that he feels like a squirrel – back and forth from room to meal.
But overall, everyone is having fun on tour and this is a really happy bunch.Tweet