The Ospreys"â¬â¢ Welsh summer tourists were the latest to return to pre-season training on Monday, reporting back for duty a fortnight after the core group following their trip to USA and Canada with the national squad.
The players attended a specially designed session at Swansea University, where they took part in a series of tests designed to assess their speed, agility and endurance. The results will be used to shape the training plans for the individual players over the coming weeks as they look to build fitness levels for the forthcoming season.
The nine players who reported back were:
Dan Biggar, Andrew Bishop, Ian Gough, Richard Hibbard, Paul James, Duncan Jones, Craig Mitchell, Sonny Parker and Jonathan Spratt.
The players who represented the British & Irish Lions will return to training on August 10th, with Ryan Jones returning a week earlier on August 3rd.
Speaking previously about his plans for the pre-season and the reasoning behind the tests that the players are taking part in, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Mark Bennett commented:
"We've put together a series of intense tests that will make sure the players get the right direction and guidance during pre-season rather than simply being worked to death day-in day-out as can be the case."
"Traditionally, pre-season has been about players doing so much of everything that they don't get better at anything and we wanted to do it differently. The series of tests that we've had the players doing today will highlight any areas of weakness that they have, see where they are exactly and then allow us to focus both their and our energy in the right direction.
"This way, they will be using pre-season to work on things that will actually make them a better rugby player rather than just working hard day after day on general fitness that may not actually make a difference in the wider scheme of things. The results of every player's tests will be assessed and an individual training plan created, allowing them to focus on their own specific needs, whether it is endurance, strength, reaction times or whatever it is that they need to work on."