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ARU Trg Camp Portugal (Browns) 25 Mar – 5 Apr 12

Day 1 – Delayed departure – Again! – 25 Mar 12

Billy Bragg – Mark “Daz II” Woodward – Burnie Burnard

The Army Team have no luck when departing to Portugal, 2 hour delay in 2011, 3 hour delay 2012. The delay allowed the players to sneak in some fast food and chocolate before Andy Harvey’s nutrition regime truly begins.

On arrival at Browns the new members of the squad were suitably impressed with their surroundings and the facilities available.

Unfortunately due to work commitments Daz Percy could not make this years training camp and his deputy “Daz II” Mark “Woody” Woodward set to work unpacking the kit and preparing for the following days sessions.

For the members that were in Browns in 2011, 51 weeks has passed in a flash!

Day 2 – Let the pain begin! – 26 Mar 12

Villa 405 – Matty Dwyer – Ricky Reeves – Ken Dowding – Craig Fillier

0845hrs is when our day begins with a great breakfast of bacon and sausage!

Then to the main event; with a classic Andy “Sunglasses” Harvey conditioning session, fair play it was an absolute lick out! We are then hit with more quality food.

Afternoon session is a hard contact session with Head Coach Andy Sanger taking the lead. By the end of training day one everybody knows exactly what is to be expected of them and that the preparation for Inter Services has truly began.

Day 3 – Hard work continues– 27 Mar 12

Villa 405 – Matty Dwyer – Ricky Reeves – Ken Dowding – Craig Fillier

Once again 0845hrs start for the boys fuelling up in preparation for what is coming next.

1100hrs all the boys are apprehensive of what the gym guru Andy Harvey has in store for us warriors. Once again a quality speed, power and endurance conditioning session was enforced. The whole team worked extremely hard and showed great team ethics and determination.

Just as this session finishes Ricky Reeves arrives after playing for Bedford in the Championship play offs. This gives the team a lift as he coerced in to the ice cold pool for some recovery.

Afternoon session sees the players receiving some one on one chats with the coaching staff giving feedback and direction, then the first split for the backs and forwards to focus on their individual technical areas.

Day 4 – The Pit of Doom- 28 Mar 12

Villa 406 – Sly Silvester – Darrell Ball – Mark Lee – Isoa Damudamu

After a hearty breakfast the Medical Team try to re-build the broken bodies after two days of heavy conditioning sessions.

The preparation is now complete and we are ready to enter to the Pit of Doom. As three teams lined up for an enjoyable but lung busting session in the sand, legs were heavy and tired but great fun was had by all, especially the coaching staff (INTEGRITY!!).

Another great lunch was consumed by all. The forwards then proceeded to the scrum machine with the legend Mattie Stewart, forty or so scrums later our bodies were bruised and backs aching. The backs went with Burnie Burnard to do what the backs do!

Day 5 – Rugby specific begins- 29 Mar 12

Villa 406 – Sly Silvester – Darrell Ball – Mark Lee – Isoa Damudamu

The boys woke up this morning with a sense of liberation. The end of Wednesdays conditioning session signalled the end of conditioning for the next couple of days.

So into Thursday now with our Rugby heads firmly on. Team patterns, unit skills and even a little touch rugby (coaches going soft) was the course for the days training.

The minds are now firmly focussed on Saturday’s game against the Portuguese champions GD Direito. New arrivals see the 1 Scots boy’s Dave Duffus and Jack Prasad arrive straight from PDT and Isoa Damudamu from England 7’s duties in Hong Kong.

Day 6 – The rain is here – 30 Mar 12

Villa 402 – Peceli Nacamavuto – Joe Kava – Maku Koroiyadi – “Phillipe” Sela

This morning the weather has changed from sunny spells to wet and drizzly. After a hard tough week of physical training now it is time to put in to practice what we have been taught for the last 5 days.

The morning session starts with the homework analysis from the Worcester and Northampton games delivered by selected players. Analysis completed we split down with the forwards hitting more lineouts and the backs sharpening up their starter moves. Our usual healthy lunch is followed by some rest prior to the afternoon sessions.

The team is announced for the first fixture of the training camp this will see us play 3 x 30 minute periods against GD Direito. We hit the team run well and the boys were ready and up for the fixture. Final pain for the day was into the icy pool for some recovery.

Day 7 – Game Day – GD Dirieto (Lisbon) – 31 Mar 12

Andy Sanger – Head Coach

It has been a punishing week both physically and mentally for the players and the team entered the game fatigued which was always in the Master plan for the 1st game. The game against Portuguese Premiership champions GD Dirieto, which contained 7 current Portuguese internationals, an Argentine and a full time Kiwi coach would prove a competitive game.

The game, watched in front of several hundred Ex Pats and locals started not as we had planned, GD Direito scored the opening try with some well worked inter play and gave the Army the jump start it needed. The Army team then started to exert its physicality and power, and the Portuguese team found this difficult to live with. A half time score of 27-7 was achieved with scrum dominance and the Army backline intent on creating and then skilfully exploiting the gaps, the final score was 59-14 and was a credit to the work ethic of the Army team, but there is still more to come and there needs to be for the upcoming challenges.

Some solid team bonding after the game, as always led to Mattie Dwyer hijacking the microphone off the after match entertainment and Craig Fillier’s rendition of ‘Mustang Sally’ brought the house down. We now look forward big task of Newcastle Falcons on Wednesday and then trying to retain the Inter Services title starting against the RAF on the 11 April.

Day 8 – Recovery and Team Activities – 1 Apr 12

Villa 404 – James Read – Paul Llewellyn – Gav Ferguson – Ronan Bolger

A day of well deserved rest and team activities followed after a hard and rewarding week. Post match recovery consisted of spinning and a swim in the icy pool.

After lunch it was off to the team activities. Golf was a popular choice along with Go-Carting, the chance to go out on a mountain bike with Andy Sanger did not have the same appeal! The Go-Carting proved to be a high octane and high speed affair with Tom “Flash” Chennell proving too fast for the field, hot on his heels was Ronan “The Rocket” Bolger and Maku “Mansell” Koroiyadi. The golfers had an equally pleasing day that was not dampened by the torrential downpour on the course. Sammy “VJ Singh” Speight improved throughout the day with his caddie Bola Boladau given him tips whilst driving the buggy.

A great day was had by all and the squad remain in high spirits and look forward to the challenge that the Newcastle Falcons game will bring on Wednesday.

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