Irish Feels Like HomePosted on: 08 August 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
Nick explains what he's been up to in pre-season and talks about the new Super 14 rules.
By Nick Kennedy
Nick Kennedy plays second row for London Irish and has been named in Martin Johnson’s elite England squad for the coming autumn internationals.
If you would like to ask Nick a question on life as a professional rugby player, leave a comment in the box below or email email@example.com.
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Touring is one of the highlights of a rugby player’s career whether it be for your school, amateur club, London Irish or England and something I do take for granted.
As I’ve said before I’m a traditionalist and do prefer the old-fashioned tours of bonding, getting out and seeing the area you’re in whilst also training hard and playing hard.
But one of the down points is definitely the time you spend without much to do or see. It’s times like those when iPods, portable DVD players and laptops come in very handy. My personal favourite is the DVD player and I could sit and watch films all day if I got the chance.
Richard Cook, Bolton asks:
Do you ever get bored being away from home for so long on tour?
What do you do to keep yourself occupied when you're not training?
With pre-season now well underway, I think it’s fair to say that I can’t wait for the first game to come around.
Pre-season is a gruelling time for any player in any form of sport as no matter how hard you train over the summer, there really is no preparation for what you hit when you’re back at the club.
It’s great to meet up with everyone again and form the bond we hold for so long every year but once the meet and greets are out of the way it’s straight down to the hard work.
As well as getting fit and fine-tuned for the start of the season, it’s also important not to peak too early, and to make sure you’re overloading any particular type of training.
For instance, I could run and run in training to make my body fit enough to run a marathon but at the same time I won’t be putting any weight or muscle into the important areas and I’d easily be outmuscled by the opposition.
It’s a difficult balancing act but one the fitness and conditional staff at Irish are very used to.
Thankfully most of the really tough stuff is out of the way and we’ve been working with ball-in-hand now, trying to acclimatise into match rugby and match fitness - after all our first friendly kicks off next week against Nottingham.
We have an interesting pre-season line-up in terms of fixtures. After the Nottingham match, a squad will be chosen to play in the Middlesex 7s the day after and the following weeks we face Harlequins and Munster.
They will both be the key games and we’ll be expected to be back in shape and ready for those games with a typical Premiership intensity.
I’m particularly looking forward to the Munster match as they are current Heineken Cup champions. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to taking a trip over to Ireland for a Friday night match!
Night matches are always quite special playing under the lights. It seems to add to the occasion and the crowds often seem much more vocal at night.
I’ve been asked by a few people about what seem to be new rules in the Super 14 competition, the Southern hemisphere’s equivalent to the Heineken Cup. The rulings suggest that the Australian, South African and New Zealand clubs will be given permission to sign overseas players for the tournament, opening it up to more players over here in Europe.
It’s a long way down the line but if I was ever approached it is something that interests me but it’s also something I’m not going to get too excited about.
I’ve always been a fan of the Super 14 and I think Irish play a similar open game to that of many of the clubs playing down there but to put myself forward for a move wouldn’t be right.
I’m delighted to be with Irish and I will honour my contract for the time I’m here and still wanted. Irish is a fantastic club to be a part of and it feels like home to me now.
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