After a 9 hour flight the Army 7s team touched down in Denver around 7pm local time. The team settled in to the hotel before grabbing a bite to eat and then getting some well needed sleep ready for training in the morning. The Squad were given a tour of Infinity Park by one of their very helpful reps – there are certainly some great facilities at the ground, including an excellent gym which the team would be making good use of later!
Coach Alfred took the team through a training session on the astro turf pitch next to the ground going through set moves and getting the team acclimatised to the thinner air at Mile High.
After a ‘light’ acclimatisation on Monday Alfred put the Army 7s squad firmly through their paces on Tuesday with two full on training sessions one in the morning and another in the afternoon. The weather was much hotter on day two, with the sun beaming down all day providing challenging conditions for the guys.
After a run out in the morning at a training facility a few blocks away from Infinity Park the team returned to the hotel for a light lunch before another run out at 1430, which would be overseen by 7s legend Serevi who was in the area with his coaching school. The team put in a great effort despite the heat and spirits are high amongst the squad. After a good evening meal another early night is on the cards as they do it all again on Wednesday.
After a tough day on Tuesday the team were out bright and early Wednesday morning for another run out. After a short warm up of touch Coach Alfred then took the team through their paces with a combination of sprints and a focus on passing accuracy and game situations. The temperature was once again in the early 30′s making for tough conditions for the players – the guys made sure to take on plenty of water during their breaks.
Two hours later and it was back to the ice baths where they spent two minutes at a time in the tub – although most wished it was less! The team had a good filling lunch back at the hotel and were soon back out training in the afternoon where the US Army joined the players midway through for a joint practice. It was a nice change for both sides to have a run out against different opposition and both sides got on well during a game of touch. The two Army sides then went back to the baths and afterwards to the hotel. After a good evening meal the squad once again looked to have an early night ready for another morning start back at the training park.
At the conclusion of practice the team had a quick dip in the pool back at the hotel before we all set off on a trip into the Rocky Mountains. After a drive of about an hour we headed up Mount Evans testing out the guys acclimatisation skills at one of the highest peaks in North America.
We reached the summit of 14,625 feet where the air thinned out extremely – leaving some of the guys a bit short of breath at times!! The summit provided a great photo opportunity with some great views across the region. After the trip back down we headed for a team meal before calling it a day with just one more day left before the competition finally kicks off.
Following a great trip up into the mountains on Thursday it was back to business Friday as the team made their way to Infinity Park for a final team run through on the Stadium Pitch. As expected the field of play was immaculate as the team went through game situations, alternating between the starting 7 and substitutes. They worked on lineouts and set pieces under the watchful eye of coach Alfred and practiced Kick offs and goal kicking as well. Later in the afternoon the players booked in to register for the tournament and had a squad photo on the Infinity pitch before heading out for a team meal to take on plenty of carbohydrates ahead of the weekend!
After a tough week of training the tournament finally gets underway tomorrow and the team are looking in great shape and are raring to go with the first game coming up against the Australian Army. Here’s hoping it’s a great weekend!