Well it goes without saying that the boys were really satisfied with the win over the defending champions last week and loved playing in front of our vocal home crowd. The roar when Luge (John Ulugia) scored that winning try was awesome and showed that the win meant as much to our fans as it did to us. To get the win at home and be able to share our satisfaction with our supporters made the result even more special and that game is one I will certainly remember for a long time.
The one downside to the game was the hamstring injury to Drew Mitchell. Hopefully it’s only a minor tear that shouldn’t keep him out of action for too long but it was enough to prevent him taking his place on the plane to Africa. Unfortunately another injury to Lachie Turner in the Shute Shield the next day ruled him out of the tour too. Lachie’s injury is a bit more serious as he’s broken a bone in his lower leg (the fibia) and had to have surgery over the weekend which will rule him out for a good few months. We’ll catch up with the boys when we get home but in the meantime, we’ve sent them both our best wishes for speedy recoveries.
On a positive note, their absence created chances for a few more of the boys to join us in South Africa and as well as the squad from the Chiefs game, big Willy Skelton, Jeremy Tilse, Tom Carter, Michael Hodge and Tom Kingston joined us for the long flight to Johannesburg on Sunday.
Since we arrived here, the boys have got through some quality sessions early in the week. The new boys like Izzy, Benny Volavola and big Will are enjoying their first trip to South Africa and I feel the group is growing tighter as a result of having time away together.
Adam and Cat (Benn Robinson) have brought remote control cars to race in their spare time, big kids that they are. Apparently Adam is undefeated so far…
The boys will enjoy a bit of down time and maybe look to do a bit of shopping or have a hit of golf but the main focus is our preparation for the Bulls which will continue during the week, with a concentration on bringing a physical but disciplined performance. We don’t have a great record against the Bulls, particularly in Pretoria where we haven’t won since 2002, when we dished out a 51-19 hiding.
But we’re up for the challenge. The performance against the Chiefs gave us confidence in our ability as a group and I feel we are progressing well towards our first win at Loftus in over a decade. We are determined to continue our momentum and win this one to make sure our fans enjoy another Tahs’ win and hopefully give Taaf something to celebrate in what would be his 100th match for NSW.
Bring it on!