vs England 11.30am
We lost by one try. Aaarrrrrghhhhhhhhhh!
England won the Home Nations last year in Dublin. This was a hard one to take. The game went back and forth. There were two enforced substitutions, one on their side for over-aggressive touches, on our side for ‘running through the ruck’ after making the touch. That second one was me and it resulted in a try… my discretion was fairly innocuous but there had been a few in a row… and arrghhhhh… it eats you up to feel you’ve cost your team.
It was a high quality game, the best we’ve played in this tournament.
All our tries were scored by the girls out wide. At the opposite end, they carved us up a bit at times in the middle. I got done once and I was furious with myself.
Every player has a different narrative for different games, especially after a defeat like that, and a different response, some can get over it much quicker than others. Personally, I beat myself up mentally after this game, went back to my room and reviewed everything for two hours, wrote it down. You want to be hard on yourself, harsh, brutal in assessment of how you played, to improve, but you don’t want to get negative on yourself either and go inside yourself. It’s a tough balance. I asked some serious questions about my mentality this afternoon. At the end of it all, I gave myself three simple goals to achieve in the Wales match. I was so determined coming back to the players tent.
As so of course, I was rested for this game. That’s sport. I hope I reacted well to that. One player is rested for every game. I tried to use it as a positive. A chance to assess the game from the outside, get some insight. I’m going to be fresher too for France tomorrow which is a bonus.
I’m reading John McEnroe’s biography at the moment… maybe that’s contributing to my questioning my sporting mentality so much. He was one of the greatest ever players, World Number 1 and plagued with such doubts. I was just reading about this famous outburst…
He wasn’t able to express this to himself coherently but at the time he was tired and lonely, and being number wasn’t making him happy and he was so ashamed of himself for always losing his temper and all really wanted was to go home and spend some time with his new girlfriend (some girl called Tayto O’Neill or something… sounds Irish). In this clip he hit the King of Sweden with a block of ice which was the only thing in the whole episode that he didn’t get fined for.
vs Wales 5.20pm
This is a team that just yesterday we almost lost to. The game was over by half-time. We were winning 6-1. That’s the scale of improvement we are at right now in one day.
Interestingly, maybe not surprisingly, my own personal conclusion on myself from my earlier soul searching was backed up by watching my teammates play… We need to believe how good we are. We are equal to Scotland and England. If we really believe we’re going to beat them, we will beat them. We need to believe.
Watch some of the great tries from that Wales game and a few other bits from the day here.
And finally, great chats around the dinner table tonight in an Italian restaurant in Swansea city centre with my teammates. That brought me back out of myself and into the team environment. It’s so important to be part of that spirit and draw on it.
We came out of the restaurant, I’d completely forgotten it’s Friday night. I’ve lost track of time already. I google-imaged ‘Swansea Nightlife’ to give you an idea of the marvelous sight we were greeted with and this is the first picture that came up…
What we saw was more or less like that except they all seemed to be dressed in leopard skin dresses for some reason.
Anyway, I’m so keen for tomorrow now. France first… and then a second crack at Scotland.
One thing I’m promising myself is this. I’m not going out on the pitch for either of those games, (if selected) not being totally convinced we’re going to win.
ps. Did I really just include a photo of Kim Kardashian in this blog? I really need to go to bed.