THURSDAY AM - Began with a short sharp circuit session led by LPT Helen McClement, with a pleasing level of energy from the squad members. Following breakfast, a skills session was run with minimal contact. PM - Nutrition lecture conducted by Mrs Philippa Gibbs and Helen, concentrating on what the players should be eating both pre and post match. The Squad then presented its players Charter to the TSG. Late afternoon - a contact session was run in conjunction with the NATO Lions players. Feedback from them - surprised by the intensity of the sessions and in particular the intensity of the contacts. A good sessions for both ours and their development, especially since several players have only taken up the game in the last year. FRIDAY 0700 - Helen took the squad on a 3 mile run this morning; the squad now understand a line has been "drawn in the sand" with regard to our expectations of their levels of fitness. Clearly several players have a significant amount of work to do prior to the autumn campaign, and need to embark on a properly planned conditioning programme sooner rather than later. Following breakfast, full contact drills were conducted, including a short practise session on the sand in preparation for tomorrow, with Lt Doc Cox and LAEM Owen Salmon coaching their respective sides. PM - Given to the players to restore energy levels, and a BBQ, prior to the Salerno Beach rugby tournament the next day. Temperature averaging 35 degrees C; a key concern being the maintenance of fluid levels (120 1.5L bottles of water/day for the squad). SATURDAY Day 4 of the training camp, saw the U23s participate in the Salerno stage of the 10th Italian Beach Rugby Championship, taking place on the beach front arena at Salerno. Two teams were entered; the "NAVY TROJANS" coached by Doc Cox and the "NAVY SPARTANS" coached by Owen, with both teams being overseen by head coach CPOCT Dave Guyan. The opposition, most of whom had a lot more experience of beach rugby, consisted of 6 teams from a wide area including Salerno but as far afield as Rome. Each team played 3 pool games, 5 minutes per half with rolling substitutes allowed. It quickly became apparent that the skills that the team had been taught/reinforced in our previous coaching sessions (esp. offload before the tackle and lines of running) were to be critical to our success or otherwise in the tournament. The pool games were keenly contested, with both teams adapting quickly to the speed of the game, the small playing area, different surface and the heat (35°C). Standings at the end of the pool games were:- SPARTANS P3 W2 L1 TROJANS P3 W1 L2 This saw the TROJANS through to the "VASE" final, against SAINT MARIA CS RUGBY, and the SPARTANS through to the Competition Final where they played PARTENOPE (who were playing in their 10th beach rugby tournament of the year!) The TROJANS worked hard in the final, but were eventually overcome by a strong SAINT MARIA SIDE. However, they forced the opposition to work hard for their win in extra time, final score ST MARIA 5 - 4 TROJANS. FINAL. SPARTANS VS PARTENOPE RUGBY (KO 19:30) The game began in frenetic fashion, with a charge down the left flank resulting in a try from AB Wayne Dugan within 30 seconds. This was followed by a try from Mne Jonathon Pilkington. Dugan then added 2 further tries to his haul prior to half time. At the break NAVY SPARTANS led by 4 tries to 3. Following the half time break, the SPARTANS struggled to retain the momentum from the first half and, although scoring 3 further tries from Glover, Stevens and Dando, succumbed to 6 tries. FINAL SCORE PARTENOPE 9 NAVY SPARTANS 7 Pictures in the Photo Gallery BENEFIT TO THE SQUAD. Playing in the tournament reinforced several skill sets that the coaching team have been emphasising, namely:- · Off loading before or in the tackle. · Support players running good lines. · Support player reaction to the pop pass out of the tackle. · Not over committing in defence. · Press forward as a line together in defence. · How to move a defender around in a confined area to create space. SUNDAY Today the opportunity has been taken to relax after yesterday and allow the players and their bodies to recover from the tournament, and allow several minor injuries to be treated and rested. MONDAY Will be spent back at the Carney Park Training Camp, conducting a sprints/plyometrics session with POPT "Brum" Edwards. O/c the team and management will be participating in a rugby fun session with children, again run by POPT Edwards. The afternoon will be spent on a local visit; and packing prior to our return to the UK on Tuesday.