The Neath squad have been back in training for well over a month now and team management are happy that preparations are on course for the fast-approaching 2016/17 season.
It is now less than a fortnight to the run of pre-season friendly matches with trips to Maesteg, Moseley and Narberth penned in between two sevens tournaments.
Those three warm-up matches are geared to prepare the squad to perform in unfamiliar territory as three of Neath’s first four Principality Premiership fixtures are away and, with the 15-game “pre-split” schedule, it is more vital than ever that Neath get off to a winning start.
Initially,training was focussed on fitness levels but now it has moved to work on core rugby skills. Beginning in June, a team-building day under the watchful eye of “Rescue 365” gave the squad an idea of things to come before strength and conditioning coach Lewis Davies took the lead.
Aside from regular work in the gym, bleep tests and plenty of fitness and stamina work at Neath Sports Centre and at The Gnoll, the squad have been regularly seen on the traditional Neath “route march” at the nearby Gnoll Woods as well as Aberavon Beach.
Now the rugby emphasis is being stepped up as coaches Gareth Llewellyn and Paul Williams start to concentrate more on team skills, in attack and defence.
The Neath squad are now into a routine of Tuesday and Thursday evening sessions with a conditioned training-session at Skewen RFC coming up while a special education session will be carried out by the WRU Anti-Doping team. A leading Premiership referee will also be invited to lead the squad through the new law changes for 2016/17.
Team Manager Martyn Morris said, “In terms of preparation, Board and Team Management are seeing to it that nothing is being left to chance really and we are very encouraged by how training has gone so far.
“We have had big numbers training, there are a couple of slots in the squad still up for grabs and everyone has been showing tremendous enthusiasm and a positive attitude. Everyone is out to impress and we need to hit the ground running.”