Getting ready for their first Tour, the Lions are in full swing at camp and Joe Marler answered some questions during an interview that helped shed some light on what life is like during these camps. Preparation is certainly one of the most crucial aspects to getting a team ready for big games, tournaments, and the season, and building rapport with the other players on the team goes a long way toward that.
Most die-hard rugby fans may know a little something about what goes on with their favorite team during the offseason and training camp, but a lot of the details are always left up to the imagination, so to speak. Thankfully, Joe Marler wanted fans to get a slight glimpse into his and his teammates’ world while prepping for the Tour.
Meeting the New Guys
With new players coming into the fold this year, getting to know one another on a more personal level serves more than just one purpose. It can certainly provide an opportunity for these men to find common interests, common ground, and perhaps some good entry points for practical joking every so often, but that closer connection influences trust on the field.
Joe Marler had the opportunity to room with Jared Payne the first week and then Taulupe Faletau the second. He commented that he handed Taulupe a questionnaire to answer with questions like ‘Full name’, ‘Early dog or night owl?’, and whether he had kids, pets, was married, and so on.
It helps allow these men an opportunity to be more comfortable with each other. The British and Irish Lions are quite the conglomeration of backgrounds, and Marler noted that it’s great to have time to know one another more personally.
On Losing Billy Vunipola
When Billy was injured, it was a tough loss for the team, and while Joe Marler didn’t shy away from acknowledging that, he was confident that the new guys, like Faletau, Stander, and Haskell were going to do well replacing him.
On Preparation and Fitness
Joe commented that it was a bit tough that first week, but the guys all seemed to pick it up a notch and fitness is not an issue at all any longer. Everyone is also getting on the same page with plays, positioning, and understanding what to expect from one another and how to trust each other.
What About Warren Trying to Fit an Eight-Week Camp into Two?
While coach Warren made a note about trying to push the guys and fit eight weeks’ worth of camp into just two, Marler laughed it off, saying there’s no way to do that. Everyone has just the same two weeks and they are all working as hard as they can; there’s no more they can do to get ready for the start of the Tour.
Four different countries are all coming together soon to try and take down the back to back world champions and, as Joe Marler said, it doesn’t get any more pressured than that. The team is working tirelessly on the field and off, which means they’ll be ready for the start of the Tour and everything their opponents throw their way.