'I can get Browny in the elevator or down the corridor and he can't walk the other way': Why tours are a welcome return for Super Rugby
While two and three-week international tours have been off the menu for Super Rugby since the global pandemic cut short last year’s season and effectively ended South Africa and Argentina’s involvement in the competition, overseas matches have at least made a return in this year’s Trans-Tasman tournament.
Tours provide players and coaches with the opportunity to better get to know one another away from the comforts of home and naturally lead to better relationships amongst squads.
Instead of heading home to family after practice, team members spend time interacting with and getting to know one another off the field.
As such, Chiefs assistant coach David Hill is pleased with his side’s current sojourn to Queensland – although the time away from home has now been extended due to the Rebels’ inability to travel to New Zealand.
“Not a lot of our crew have done lots of touring before,” Hill said on Tuesday afternoon. “A few young fellas haven’t done tours of Africa or anything like that.
“This week we’ve got a couple of down days that we’ve got team activities and that kind of thing and from a coaching perspective, our trainings won’t change too much in terms of how we train but there is good opportunities to spend some time together, having coffees, little chocolate cakes every now and then – whatever treats are going round.
“For the boys, they’ve played a lot of cards and hanging out so lots of benefits to being on tour from the coach and the players.”
“It’s the beauty of the tour. I can get Browny [Chiefs lock Mitch Brown] in the elevator or down the corridor and he can’t walk the other way.”
Brown agreed with his coach.
“It’s just being able to stay together, train together, eat together and just get around each other a lot more, whether it’s playing cards, talking around lineout with Lordy and Tups [Josh Lord and Tupou Vaa’i] and stuff like that,” he said. “Just being under the same roof obviously gives you a lot of time to discuss the upcoming matches and review and preview so it’s awesome.”
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The Chiefs travelled to Sydney on Wednesday in anticipation that their final home game of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman might get shifted to Australia and while Hill acknowledged that perhaps playing in Sydney might lead to fewer disruptions, the former All Blacks first five would still have preferred to take the team back to New Zealand and line up in front of the fans.
“We’ve got everything we need here, we’ve been looked after really well in Townsville,” Hill acknowledged. “We’ve got great facilities and resources, it’s all going pretty well.
“Obviously we want to get home for the game and do our part for the community and the Chiefs rugby club and try and bring some revenue in but it’s sort of out of our hands so we’ll just do what we can and keep training.
“[It might be] potentially simpler and easier [to remain in Sydney] but we love playing at home so I think everyone would just lump [the extra travel]. The travel’s the travel. Had a big old travel day before we got up here and we did that really well.
“It’s simpler being in one spot, yep, but we’re pretty keen to head home and play at home so we’ll see what pans out.”
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