by Richard Beck of Leeds Carnegie RFU

Returning back to training after a summer break is always difficult no matter what sport you play. As a professional rugby player we are sent away with targets that we must hit when we return. These targets include things such as bodyweight, body fat percentage and fitness tests results. We are encouraged to have a week of complete rest at the end of a season, but then complete our off-season programmes for around three weeks before we return to the club. As soon as you meet up with your teammates on day one of pre season, you can tell who has been doing the suggested training. If you haven't done any training and have just had a month holiday, you're in for a tough few weeks. Thankfully, pre season is now over and the season has started, which means games are coming thick and fast and we don't have to do any boring running.

Further inspiration comes in the form of the Rugby World Cup. Japan beating South Africa at the weekend has brought huge media attention to the competition, which is great for the sport. The spirit and discipline Japan played with was awesome to watch and I think they will definitely cause another upset at some point. I think England have a great chance of winning the competition. Home advantage is massive in sport and with Twickenham being such a fortress in recent years, England will be very difficult to beat. In terms of players to watch, keep an eye out for Milner-Skudder for New Zealand, Ngwenya for USA and Matawalu for Fiji. All three players are absolutely electric and great to watch. Hope you enjoy the tournament.

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