Day one from the Hong Kong tour, courtesy of Director of Rugby Simon Amor…
We have now been in Hong Kong for a full 24 hours and, with less than 48 hours before our game against Hong Kong Football Club Rugby, all our focus is on getting over the jet lag and adjusting to the 7 hours time difference, which is absolutely critical.
Since stepping off the plane from Gatwick, via a short stopover in Dubai, everyone was immediately hit by the heat (31'C) and humidity (80%) – even at 11pm at night! – when we landed, which really saps the energy levels. It was a real shock to the system having come from a pretty cold UK and the reality dawned on the players of just how challenging the climate will make in putting in a performance. However, our new head of Strength and Conditioning Tim Harper is ensuring we are as best prepared physically as we can be with hydration being the word of the day.
To help fast track our acclimatisation and sleep pattern adjustments, the team and coaches trained on Tuesday morning at the Hong Kong Football Club, a mere 11 hours after they landed. This was limited to around 50% pace due to the risk of injuries but I was pleased with the players' attitude, particularly given that they had little sleep and their body clocks were timed in to 3am!
After a short dip in the swimming pool to aid recovery the players returned to out hotel in Wanchai, with Lewis Calder and myself heading to the hugely impressive Deutsche Bank offices to meet with Alan Cloete, CEO Asia Pacific. It is always good to meet our sponsors and to thank them for their support and I have to say the view over Hong Kong Bay from the 53rd floor of their office was breathtaking.
Half the squad had the rest of the day free with the other half taking part in a CSR event with the Changing Young Lives Foundation, which they hugely enjoyed. CSR is another key focus for the club throughout the week.
As I am sure you can see, it has been a 'full' 24 hours and the team is making the most of every minute here in Hong Kong!