Pre-Season Training Camp: Tour Report
Stories always start somewhere and end somewhere else. That one started on a chilly night at Monkey, a local pub in Chamonix Sud where the team gathered to kick off the official pre-season much awaited training camp. Those who traveled early were already quite advanced in the night. A few more pints later, ice cubes were being smashed against foreheads and glasses bitten, no doubt in an attempt to prove their manlyhood to the local female populace gawking at the spectacle.
The next morning, the emancipated group gathered in the lobby of their 5-star hostel to set off for the day. What was supposed to be a gentle walk turned quickly into a 5 hour hike. Unwilling to listen to their mum’s advice, many faces started to turn red burnt by the sun. Highlight of the day (beside seeing the glacier) was the story of Yared’s T-shirt (that he lent to a “friend”), short lived, discarded next to a pile of shite, used as a substitute for toilet paper. Gross!!!
We then finished the day going over the game plan followed by a fancy french dinner made of escargots, tartar, entrecôtes and a lot of bread. A couple of players shed a few tears when they were declined a beer in anticipation of the game awaiting us the next day. Amateur rugby turned a page of history on that night...
Invigorated by the pure air of the mountains, we set off the next morning to the training field, where we went over one more time the scenarios of the afternoon’s game. After one last look at Mont Blanc eating our lunch by the lake, we packed our stuff and set off to the field. There we were welcome by strange looks, people not being used to hear anyone speaking English around town. After a quick warm up we were thrown in the arena, facing a team that hasn’t lost a game in the last 2 years.
I won’t go over the game in detail, as I probably wouldn’t be very objective. My recollection of the events is that we gave both teams a run for their money and help them revised the judgment they had of Swiss rugby. Some big hits, some great lines, some good tries and some courage and composure were shown throughout the day. While they lost a few players on injuries, we finished both games unscathed and a bit better than when we started.
This camp was a real success and a big stepping stone towards achieving our objective for the season. Although some big names were missing, those present on the day dug deep to pretend for a spot in the starting XV this weekend against Stade.
(Von: Alex Ramon)