France v England
France tour 1st April- 4 April
Day 1- We met at 11 oâ€™clock outside Twickenham Stadium after traveling down with my team mate Callum Braley (also at Bristol Rugby). Most of the squad were there along with the England u19s squad who were traveling with us. On arrival at Heathrow, we met up with rest of 23 man squad and caught the 2 oâ€™clock plane to Toulouse. Our match was being played in Brive, which was about 110 miles north, so when we arrived we then had an extra 2 hours in the coach. When we finally arrived to our hotel it was late and everyone was exhausted so we had dinner and went to bed.
Day 2- An early start was required on our first morning in France because we had be at training at 10 oâ€™clock to avoid the mid day temperature which were predicted to be in the late 20â€™s. Before we set off every player was tested for their hydration levels, using the â€˜peeâ€˜ test. We then had breakfast and caught the coach to Montemort rugby club. We trained for about an hour working on attack, defense and our set plays and started to feel quite confident as a team. Although it was mid morning it was still very hot and humid, with the temperature reaching the predicted 27 degrees we had anticipated. After training we had a long break where we could relax and have some down time away from rugby. A group of us decided to get a taxi into the Centre of Brive where we could look around and explore the city. Brive is a nice place, similar feeling to Bath, with relaxed atmosphere and interesting architecture. We spent several hours checking out the town before we eventual
ly arrived back at the hotel. At 7 oâ€™clock we had a team meeting talking tactics and how we are going to play the game on Sunday. After this we had dinner, watched a film and got an early night.
Day 3 -Game day. We were given a lie in and didnâ€™t have breakfast till around 9.30. Before we left for the match we had a team meeting before where the coaches handed out the match shirts. I had number 21 as I was due to start on the bench, with Gus Jones captaining the side and playing in my normal position at open side. When we arrived at the ground hundreds of French supports were already singing their anthem creating a great rugby atmosphere. As we ran out to start our pre match warm up, the crowd started to boo us which was quite funny, but when the French players went out the fans erupted and gave them a great reception. I was on the bench so wasnâ€™t directly involved in the warm up but couldnâ€™t wait to get my chance and gave my team mates lots of encouragement. As we went back inside the changing room 5 minuteâ€™s before kick off we had an inspirational team talk from the coach and captain and everyone was focused on winning the game. We then ran out alongside F
rance in front of the biggest crowed I have every played in front of. France started well and put us under a lot of pressure in the first half, outscoring us 10 points to 5 at half time. I came on for the second half and was buzzing, put in some nice tackles, carried well and felt I did well pretty well. We came back strongly in the second half and could have won the game. Callum scored a good try close to the end of the game which got us closer to the French score line, but although the game could have gone either way, the French held on winning 18 â€“ 12. After the game we had a post match meal with the French, socializing and handing out awards. We then traveled back to our hotel and went to bed early; we had a 4am start to catch the 7 AM plane back to England in the morning.
The weekend had been a great experience to play for my country in a beautiful part of the world, albeit a little disappointing because we lost. I left feeling pretty good and really looking forward to the following weekend, where we were due to play Scotland at Leeds.