Testing begins ahead of new season

Pre-season training got underway at Llandarcy Academy of Sport on Monday, with the core group of players reporting back for intense fitness testing under the watchful eyes of Mark Bennett and Kevin Morgan.

The strength and conditioning team put the players through their paces with a series of tests to assess their speed, agility and endurance in the morning, before moving into the gym after lunch to test their strength and power.

The players were all being monitored to see whether they had hit the physical goals that has been set by Bennett prior to them breaking for their summer leave period, with the results then being used to shape their individual programmes for the rest of pre-season.

Bennett commented:

"It's important that we use the first few days of pre-season to get an accurate picture of where the squad is at the moment, as the results will then allow us to ensure that as individuals they get the right direction and guidance. It's not a one size fits all programme, far from it. We don't want to needlessly flog the players for the sake of it, we want to make sure that the work they are doing has a purpose, with direct benefits that will help to make them better rugby players.

"We gave the whole squad goals and targets five weeks ago and I would expect that they have all achieved them. As a group, this will then mean we can really kick on during pre-season, putting the squad quite a way ahead of where we were at the same time last year.

"It's not an easy time for players, but they don't mind the hard fitness work when they can see why they are doing things and what benefit it will have for them individually, that they are relevant rather then just being done for the sake of it. The results we get from today's activities are extremely relevant, they will highlight areas of weakness that will allow us to tailor their programme in the right areas, and because of that, the attitude and mood in the squad today has been excellent."

The full squad will be returning to pre-season in stages over the next month, with Wales U20 players who participated in the Junior World Championship in Argentina last month returning in a fortnight on July 26th, with senior internationals who featured on the Wales and Ireland tours to the southern hemisphere due to report back the following week.