French trip is the next step in pre-season

A month into pre-season, Joe Bearman says that the players are ready to step things up a gear with next week's training camp in central France.

The Ospreys head to Issoir in central France for a five day trip that culminates in a tough game against French giants Clermont Auvergne on Friday 10th August (8.00pm KO), and according to the big Cornishman, the trip will play a big part in preparations for the coming season.

““It’s going good” he insisted.

“The boys are in good shape and everyone’s feeling positive, getting stronger. We’ve started doing contact stuff now so we’re stepping it up a bit and we’ll get a better picture of where everyone is this week.

“All in all I’d say it’s gone really well and the boys are all looking forward to moving up a gear next week now, going to France for the week with a game at the end of it.

“It’s my first proper pre-season in probably three or four years so I’m feeling really good and benefiting from it. It makes all the difference in terms of preparation as it allows you to put everything in place for the season ahead instead of starting off from behind everyone else and taking half the season to catch up and really get going.

“It’s an important time of the year for all rugby players.”

Despite the recent hot spell, pre-season this year has been characterised by rain and wet-weather gear rather than the more expected summer weather and Bearman says that it will be good to get some French sunshine on the back next week:

“The weather’s been rubbish” he laughed.

“We’ve just had a good week but that’s about it. Pre-season is usually about avoiding sunburn and staying hydrated but this year it’s just rained and rained. It’s been terrible. There’s nothing worse than getting up early on a summer’s morning and it’s still dark and it’s raining.

“Rather than sunburn, every day after training it’s been about getting back into the pavilion to dry out and warm up. It’s been incredible really but the boys have pulled together and kept spirits high, and we’ve got some good work done over the last month. It’s always good to take training somewhere else and I think we’re all hoping that we’ll get a bit more sunshine in France!

“Seriously thought, it’s an important week for everybody. Going there is about spending a bit more time working on things we’ve gone through in training, making sure they work, being out on the training pitch together and ironing some things out before our first game. There’ll be a lot of young boys on the trip and it’ll be a good experience for them to be around the environment and to be preparing for a game against a great side like Clermont Auvergne. I’d expect everybody to get some game time at some stage out there, it’s the next step for us towards the new season.

“What happens off the field is just as important as it’s the only chance for the whole squad to travel somewhere together as a group rather than just a team involved in a game. It gives everyone a chance to gel together, which is important, making sure we are getting on as a group.

“It’s important that we enjoy the trip. It’s going to be hard work, the coaches will make sure of that, but we need to make sure that everyone feels part of it and knows what we are playing for. We’ll come back ready to play Bath (Saturday 18th August, KO 3.00pm), and then we’re into the season with a massive game away to Treviso before Ulster come to the Liberty a week later for the first home league game.

“We need to start on the front foot and pre-season will be geared towards allowing us to do that. It’s going to be a huge season for us.”