RWC Diary Day 2 - Injured wingers
01 September, 2011
|Injured wingers (L-R) Napolioni Nalaga and Michael Tagicakibau. |
Apparently tomorrow is the first day of spring in New Zealand, not that you’d really notice, the flowers aren’t shouting their joy and the weather is still cold enough to freeze the thingies off a brass monkey.
Speaking of the cold, United Kingdom based player Michael Tagicakibau was, this afternoon, highlighting the fact he plays his rugby in winter and now misses the warmest part of an English summer to play in the Rugby World Cup in climes not too dissimilar to an English winter. He then misses out on a Southern Hemisphere summer to return to wintery England and resume playing for the Saracens Rugby Club – some guys just don’t have any luck at all.
But for Michael it wasn’t just the weather or the seasons getting him down as today a pulled hamstring laid him low. While it’s not a serious injury it does mean he’s unlikely to train for at least four or five days. And adding misery to injury was the fact Napolioni Nalaga was badly winded in the chest this afternoon by an inglorious late tackle (at least that’s how Naps describes it) from Leone Nakarawa – perhaps it’s a Nadroga-Kadavu relationship thing!
Anyway, while Michael and Naps were doing their utmost best to keep team physiotherapists William Koong and Jennifer Khalik busy, our only other winger Vereniki Goneva was still recovering from a slight ankle sprain picked up last week. The sight of Fiji’s three wingers all injured, though none of the injuries were particularly serious, was certainly enough to cause backs coach Shannon Fraser much angst.
“It’s unbelievable our three wingers are all injured at the moment, can’t really believe it,” Fraser said with some concern this afternoon.
There are other injury concerns, though none particularly serious at the moment, with Sunia Koto nursing a sore shoulder and Campese Ma’afu feeling uncomfortable after having taken a nasty knock on the head.
Today the players put themselves through two very rigorous training sessions; pushing themselves to the very limit as they prepare for their match against Namibia next Saturday in Rotorua. The forwards in particular were put through strenuous drills in the morning as forwards coach Greg Mumm had them doing a series of scrums.
“The boys had a very tough morning and I think they were at it for about two and a quarter hours,” Mumm said.
“This week’s an important week for us as we’re going to make sure we get everything we want done before we lighten the load for our first game next week, and the scrum is obviously something we’ve been building on and working pretty hard at and making sure we’re not losing our focus leading into the Rugby World Cup.”
While captain Deacon Manu may not be the fastest forward around the paddock (well he is a prop after all) he certainly isn’t shirking any of the training and is ensuring no one else does either. The former Waikato Chief insists players do each and every drill correctly without cutting corners, and on occasion very willing to ensure the drill is done again if it hasn’t been done properly. Quiet by nature Deacon is proving to be a strong leader.
Tomorrow the players take a bit of a rest as their bodies recover from what has been two very strenuous days and it’s certainly been tiring just watching them. The players certainly deserve their break, however there’s no doubt come Friday they’ll be back at the grindstone with Namibia on their minds.
Moce mada. View training highlights from Day 2.
View the full interview with Greg Mumm.
RWC Diary Day 1 - Arrival