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2009/10 Academy Apprenticeship Blog

See how the new Wasps Apprentices take to life at the Club - follow their progress with regular instalments from some of Wasps youngest talents!

Apprentices Secure Semi-Final Place - David Onyemi - Feb 2010

Twyford C of E High School 26 - 7 Filton College (Bristol)

Wasps Apprentices saw off a spirited Filton side to guarantee a Semi-Final spot in the Apprentices League. The young Wasps will have to wait a few more weeks to see who they will face in the April knockout round. Their opponents will come from the Northern League, which is very tight with four teams still in contention as they approach the last round of matches. Wasp’s destiny is now in their own hands, victory against St Pauls (London Irish) in the final league fixture will secure home advantage come the play-offs.

Wasps secured a two-point victory in the reverse fixture earlier in the year and knew that they would have to perform in order to beat the Bristol based side and deny them a chance of progressing into the knockout stages.

From the kick-off the intensity of and pace of the game was established and maintained right to the final whistle. Bristol started well and retained the ball for the opening minutes before the physicality and structure of the Wasps defence forced a turn over and a relieving kick. Through some good phase play Wasps were able to exert some control over the game and forced Filton to concede penalties. Jack Matthews-Jolly punished these indiscretions with a faultless goal kicking display, which saw him accrue sixteen points with the boot.

Though Wasps did not have the vast majority of possession they were making good use of the ball that they had. Alex Fan was consistently making yards and breaking tackles to provide front foot ball. As a result the penalties followed as Bristol struggled to contain the physical Wasps pack and by half-time Jolly had put the home side twelve points clear.

The second half started with the same intensity as the first but this time it was Wasps who got their hands on the ball early with the pack driving a lineout 50m. The backs were also now getting ball in hand and Stephen Hihetah was proving a handful in the open spaces. It was from a set scrum that an excellent set move saw Hihetah break the line and off-load to Mitchell Tamiau to crashed over under the posts with Jolly adding the extras.

Wasps were dominating the tackles and contact area with Liam Yeo and centre partner Tamiau causing mayhem in the Bristol ranks. It was from this aggressive defence that Wasps scored their second try as the ball was dislodged and winger David Onyeme scooped it up and race 20m to score and put the game beyond the visitors. Filton to their credit pressed hard in the final minutes and deservedly scored and converted a try late on. Wasps have now completed their home fixtures and are undefeated at Twyford Avenue and since the opening day defeat at Ivybridge have not lost a league game, a record they lwill look to continue against St Pauls.

Will Robinson Fly-Half – 1st Year - 4th-10th January2010

Back from the Christmas holidays the lads found the first day hard work getting back into their stride with a skills session, weights and then conditioning. The skills session involved basic handling drills with 2 on 1’s and 3 on 2’s which then progressed into holding lines and supporting others. Conditioning was a mixture, some did bike and others did boxing, on and off for 30 seconds. This was a very successful day.
Due to the cold and icy conditions on Tuesday we used the Twyford Sports Hall. Here we did co-ordination work with tennis balls testing our reaction time, catching, and passing drills, then a doubles tennis match using the tackling pads as the net. With the forwards and backs split, the backs went through 3 on 2 situations reacting to the space that was presented. This was done very well, especially considering we have just returned from the Christmas Break.
Wednesday is always our day off, if we do not have a match, however some boys enjoy doing extra skills with the coach working on their passing, line-out throwing or whatever it may be.
Thursday- Because of the snow we used the school’s sports hall, as it was free. Here we were limited to how much we could do, so we went into 2 on 1 and 3 on 2 drills using channels of 1, 2 and 3. We were split up into two groups, forwards and backs. While one group was going through game related exercises, the other group was with our strength and conditioning coach going through hand eye co-ordination drills with tennis balls and hand tennis.
After, we hit the gym to do a shoulders arms session, looking to increase our weight and make ourselves that much efficient in contact.
Friday was a repeat of Thursday, except the backs did there set moves, and the forwards went into their line-out calls and mauls and with the strength and conditiong coach we had agility Following on from that we went into the gym, to do a lower body session to finish the week off and have a relaxing weekend to prepare for the next week of training.

Neil Davies - December 2009 - Scrum-Half

Our second week off without a game, began with out final pre season week before the Xmas break. Monday began with a speed and contact rugby session at lunch, with the squad being split into two. One group worked on agility and group two starting with contact, involving 1 on 1 and rucking technique. This was followed by out first weights session of the week, with our new chest and back session designed for individual goals.

Tuesday began with the fitness test in a while, with backs partaking in the yo-yo test first, while the forwards did a skills session and vice versa. This was once again followed by another upper body gym session after school, which left sore bodies for Wednesday, which was our rest day.

Wednesday came with much excitement, as this was the day of the Xmas party, we dined at a Lebanese restaurant down the road from Twyford Avenue. However the highlight was an X-Factor themed show with all the lads performing. The acts were varied as, as was the talent, Joe Flanagan stole the show and Will Robinson probably needs to stick to rugby. Ant Brennan did a good impression of Freddie Mercury, which might have permanently scarred the minds of some of the more sensitive apprentices.

Thursday was back to training, with a lower body weights session and rugby in the snow. A number of the apprentices will be playing in a game against London Division on Sunday before resuming training back at home with a few well earned days of before we come back in January.

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

James Wileman - December - Second Row

Pre-Season Starts Again…
After our success against Ivybridge last week we enter the run up to our Christmas break without a mid week game. This has meant that even though we are not getting battered and bruised in a game we are getting worked even harder in the gym and on the training pitch. On Monday we were straight into it. Speed testing started off our day, which included several 10 and 40 meter timed sprints as well as an agility test. All the boys’ spirits were high and we all managed to have a good laugh. We were then in the gym for an upper body gym session. This was when we began to realise how hard this week could turn out to be. We all had slightly different training programmes: I had a training programme that is called German Volume Training (or GVT for short). For me this involves performing 10 sets of 6 reps in my first two exercises. Both of these are preformed under a tempo of five seconds on the downward phase and one on the up phase. This does not sound all that bad but at around the half way mark you are having to really work on keeping the tempo correct and not rush it. After this not so gentle introduction to our weights programme for the next two weeks we headed outside for our rugby session. This involved skills and our defensive set-up around rucks and in general play.
Tuesday started off with another skills session outside where we also looked at our attacking set-ups against a variety of different defenders. Tuesday’s gym session was more of the same but this time it was lower body, but still just as painful as Monday’s upper body. To finish the day off we once more headed outside for a quick skills session, this time looking at our decision-making in attack down a tight channel. On Wednesday we were kindly rewarded with a rest day, which was well deserved by all the lads for two days of hard intensive work both in the gym and on the pitch.
Our coaches had a nice day planned for us on Thursday. To start off the day we had a full contact session, which involved us looking at our one-on-one tackle technique. Luckily for us forwards it was in a relatively small channel so the backs didn’t have too much of an opportunity to stand us up with a side step. After having a good time smashing each other up we had an agility session where everyone’s competitive streak came back into us all as we raced another person in our position around a variety of courses. That evening we had a conditioning session where the forwards and backs split. For the forwards we had a 5 on 3 mauling game where the objective was to form a maul and drive the ball from the dead-ball line to the 5 metre line, then repeat that three more times. Everyone put everything into it and we also got a lot out (along with the odd bruise and stud mark). But we were not finished there. We then all came back together for a game of conditioning touch. This is normal touch but once you are touched you go down on the floor and get back up as fast as possible before your team can play the ball. In the mean time two defenders have to drop out of the defensive line. One has to run to a touchline and the other to the try-line that you are defending as fast as you can because your side is now two defenders down. All the lads once more put everything into it and were all thoroughly worn-out at the end.
Friday was to be quite a relaxing day of training in comparison to the rest of the week. We were sent into the gym to do our final gym session, which was again hard work and made even more so as we were all tired after a very hard week of training.

Tom Pointer – Scrum-Half - 2nd December 2009

Wasps 16
Ivybridge 7

On December 2nd, the squad would face our hardest league match to date. Looking to bounce back from the disappointing loss in a friendly to Saracens the week before and continuing the winning run of games in the AASE South league. Having lost the away fixture at the beginning of the season the boys had a point to prove and the coaches were looking to see the improvements made since this fixture put into practice on the pitch.

There were a few changes to the line-up with Luke O’Keefe out but making good progress from his hip surgery Jack Jolly moved to full-back. Mitch Tamiau made his second start at centre having overcome the knee injury that ruled him out for the start of the season. The squad was given yet another incentive to giving wasps the confidence tha they could start fast and gain an early advantage.

The game started just as the two teams had left off before in Devon, with the forwards settling scores and getting stuck into each other. Clinical execution, from Wasps and Ivybridge, meant that neither team could gain an advantage over the other. Wasps had the edge though in the set piece as the front row out muscled their heavier opponents and James Wileman produced a steady stream of quality ball from the lineout. The first meaningful attack of the game came from a Wileman take the Wasps backs ran a set move, Will Robinson put Dave Onyeme into acres of space and only desperate defence denied Wasps the opening score.

Continued pressure from the forwards and a good kicking strategy resulted in a penalty inside the Ivybridge half. Jack Jolly duly converted for 3 points to put the home side in front. A minute later though Wasps conceded their only point of the afternoon as the Ivybridge fly-half attached the line and produced a fine short pass to his inside centre who ran strongly to score under the posts.

In the previous encounter Wasps were unable to cope with a similar set back and Ivybridge took control, however the team has made great strides since then and re-grouped and began to execute their game plan. Good kicking out of hand from Robinson at fly-half and an aggressive kick chase led by left wing Steve Hihetah provided Wasps with an attacking opportunity inside the oppositions half. A powerful scrum resulted in a penalty which was kicked to the corner. The ever reliable Wileman took the throw from hooker Smith and the pack surged forwards towards the line. When the maul crashed over the line it was Ant Brennan who got the all important touchdown, a great way for him to celebrate his inclusion in the England U18’s squad to play Australia later this month.

Jack Jolly kicked the difficult conversion even though he was under immense pressure from Ivybridge players keen to prevent the extra points. This put Wasps 10-3 up at the break and if anything the intensity of the 2nd half seemed to go up a level. Ivybridge threw everything they had at wasps, using their forwards to slow the ball down and drive. The wasps were more than ready for this tactic and relished the physicality of the game, training in the week had focussed on big double tackles and Ivybridge could not find any holes or any player that wasn’t prepared the smash them backwards. The physical battle did at one point end up in both teams throwing punches as neither team would take a step backwards and everyone was keen to make a point to their opposite number, unfortunately this meant a player from each team had to leave the pitch.

Captain Tommy Smith led from the front with some thumping tackles and Fan and Farley in the backrow were a threat at the breakdown and making ground in the loose. Everyone followed the commitment of the captain, the whole team upped their game ad showed a great collective spirit. Wasps contained Ivybridge’s attacks and with Robinson pulling the strings played in the right parts of the pitch. The pressure that this produced resulted in Ivybridge conceding penalties, both kicked by Robinson to put Wasps 16-7 ahead. Ivybridge now had to chase the game to try to secure a losing bonus point, but wasps held out and Mitch Tamiau showed his opponents what it meant to them with a great hit which signalled the end of the match and jubilation amongst the young Wasps.

Oliver Farley – Openside Flanker

Wednesday 25th November we left the club at 11.45 for our short trip up the motorway to Oaklands college.

The friendly game with the Saracens Apprenticeship saw a number of players get some important game time. Ben McCormack who has converted from back-row to prop got his chance as did Tom Pointer at scrum-half who recently moved from stand-off.

The warm up went well with a high intensity through the squad and everyone looking up for the game. During the warm up we were told the referee had been involved in a car crash so wouldn’t be able to get to the game. Luckily one of the Oaklands staff agreed to referee so we were able to get a useful run out.

In the first 10 minutes we were put under pressure on our own line and only some strong defence held the opposition out. Oaklands like the senior Saracens team employed a good kicking game and this led the first try. A good kick chase resulted in a turnover and from this the scrum-half spotted a weakness in the short-side defence and darted over from the 22. After this set back we went up there end of the pitch and Mitchell Tamiau made a good break only to be pulled own just short of the line. A penalty followed for slowing the ball down, the livewire Tom Pointer took a quick tap and gave the ball to Tamiau who bounced 2 players off and went in under the post to score our first points.

Saracens then converted a penalty to make the score 8-5 which playing against the wind and slope would have been a decent return for the half. However the last play of the half saw Will Robinson take a great catch from a high bomb only to be smashed by Alex Fan, the ball ran loose and the grateful Saracens hooker fly-hacked on and dotted down 10m from touch. The conversion was successful and we turned around 12 points down.

We were though confident that we could turn the deficit around and our pack took the fight to the opposition with some great driving mauls. From one such maul Alex Fan hitched an armchair ride before scooting off to claim the five points. Shortly afterwards from a similar maul Fan was being congratulated on his second try of the afternoon and the young Wasps were put in front for the first time in the game as Jolly slotted the conversion.

Both sides played some good rugby in the next 15 minutes, but the telling moment came from a box kick by the Saracens scrum-half. The ball took a wicked bounce past full-back Joe Flanagan straight into the arms of the opposition centre who ran through to score the match winning try.

The final score was 22-17 to Oaklands and though it was disappointing to lose the performances of a number of the first years shows that they are making great strides and will be pushing hard for a place in the starting line up against Ivybridge next week.

By Oliver Farley

Training week 9th November Ben Ashmore – Blindside Flanker

After our win against Filton College we had a week without a game, which meant that we had a very full and hard week of training. This included 4 weight sessions in the gym, one full contact session and 4 rugby sessions, along with conditioning, set piece practice and goal setting as part of our NVQ.

The week started with a power session, rugby and conditioning. It was a hard start to the week. Tuesday was another hard day with gym, contact and rugby. We did an arms session in the gym and some hard contact work on the field and we led into Wednesday sore and tired.

Wednesday came as a well deserved rest day as we recovered for the rest of the week. As well as recovering we did our NVQ lesson in which we looked at our food intake and devised a nutritional strategies to help meet our goals for weight gain or losing body fat.

Thursday we had lower body weights and we performed our squat testing in the gym and a low key rugby session.

The end of the week approached and with no school on Friday due to a inset day we moved the programme forward and the first years started with a NVQ lesson looking at the mental approaches that we can use to assist our performance. The forwards then went into some lineout work followed by a very good scrum session.

We then ended the week with a upper body session which including our bench press test and pull up test. By the time our weekend came about everyone was tired and looking forward to a rest.
We are all looking very forward to next week with our clash against St Pauls College (London Irish), we are looking to win and maintain our top spot in the table.

We feel as a team a lot more prepared and ready after our intense weeks training.

Heath Stevens – Centre - Filton 28 – 30 Wasps

On a cold wet day we travelled down to Bristol for a league game against one of the favourites to win the league. We went into the game on the back of an excellent win against Truro so confidence in the camp was high. The game started with fierce intensity and we put together some good phases play in the opening minutes which resulted in a penalty which was converted by Jack Jolly to give us an early three point lead. Filton though came back strongly and dominated the next fifteen minutes of play with some good tactical kicking from their fly-half.

The field position they gained resulted in a penalty and then two tries as. they raced into a 15-3 lead. It looked like we were going have our backs to the wall but our heads refused to drop and we managed to put some pattern together and re-gain a foothold in the game. The work rate of our pack was excellent and they managed to generate quick ball which allowed us to stretch the play. Stephen Hihetah did well to score in the corner carrying three tacklers over the line with him to bring the score back to 15-8. From the kick-off we re-established field position an good interplay between Alex Fan and Liam Yeo saw Wasps a metre out from the Filton line. From this close tight head prop Anthony Brennan burrowed his way over to bring us back to within two points. Immediately from the kick off we scored again as good line speed caused an error in the Filton midfield and openside Ollie Farley produced his best George Best impersonation to dribble the ball 60m upfield and then collected the ball to score. Jack Jolly converted to give us a 20-15 lead at the break.

We started the half as we ended the first and were quickly rewarded with a penalty which Jack Jolly duly converted to extend our lead to eight points (23-20). Filton came out hard and scored through a well worked catch and drive from close to our line. We regrouped from this and worked our way into good scoring positions and were able to capitalise on this when from a good scrum Jolly was able to get outside his opposite number to score under the posts.

The conversion gave us a ten point advantage which we held until the last few minutes, a penalty brought Filton to within a converted try of a draw but we were closing the game down well until some poor kicking gave them the chance to counter and they scored wide out. The conversion hit the post but a franctic last minute was guaranteed as they pressed for a score to win the game, our defence though was outstanding and held out for a well deserved win.


Apprentices hold the line against Truro

Apprentices hold the line against Truro

Tommy Smith – Hooker - Wasps 23 - 6 Truro

Wasps made a bright start with our line out working well and providing our backs with good ball to get over the gain-line with. We conceeded back to back penalties which eased the pressure and gave Truro the chance to take the lead which they duly did. We though continued to play well and created a number of opportunities to score and should have made these count but some poor decision making and handling meant that the chances went begging. This pressure did though force Truro to infringe and Jack Jolly brought us back on level terms. A few minutes later he put us in the lead with a second penalty but this was soon cancelled out as we were penalised and the scores were level again.

James Wileman was doing some excellent work in the lineout and stole their ball on our 5m line which allowed us to clear our lines. The scrum was working well and gaining dominance and as the half ended we were confident that this superiority would tell in the second half.

Wasps defended well when needed to during this half and were able to come with the attacking threat that the Cornish side posed. We were able to control possession and territory and forced a turnover at their scrum which allowed No8 Alex Fan to crash over for the opening score of the game. Wasps wasted some opportunites to kill the game off but Ben Ashmore and Ben Robey were making some excellent surges from the back row and Heath Stevens and Liam Yeo were making ground in the midfield.

The game was heading into the final stages and it appeared that there would be no further scores. Scrum-half Neil Davies tried to kick the ball out to end the game but scuffed his kick. The ball hit a Truro player and bounced back into Neil’s arms, this flatfooted the Truro defence an he was able to jog over the line to score with the final play of the game. Though the final score was fortunate the result was not and the margin of victory reflected the Wasps dominance through most of the game.


Exeter Week- Ben Robey

The week started with the usual schedule of rugby, upper body strength and conditioning. Tuesday we had a double rugby session to go through defence, attack, and set piece; it was relaxed because of the game against Exeter on Wednesday.

We got to Twyford Avenue at 8, arriving in Exeter at 12.30, after this long journey our muscles were tight but we knew we had a job to do. We started the game poorly with a kick off going out into touch but from there we picked up the intensity and played through it. In the first half we had the majority of possession and a number of chances but these weren’t taken due to dropped balls and forward passes. Even though we were playing good rugby, going into half time we knew that we could perform better and raise our game for the second half. David Onyeme scored our only try of the first half doing well to finish.

Going into the second half we knew if we upped our game and intensity we could finish this game off. We raised our game to a new level and played the best rugby we have all season, making line breaks, offloads and scoring tries. Tries came from David Onyeme, Liam Yeo and Alex Fan. From a forwards point of view we dominated in the scrum and the lineout providing the backs with quick safe ball. For the first time this season we travelled back to London knowing that we had put a decent performance in and won the game.

On Thursday we had a recovery day with match analysis and an NVQ lesson. The highlight of the day was a presentation from the Sporting Chance Charity who specialise in helping those with addictions. The Charity works mainly with sports people and focuses on the pressures that surround professional sport and how this can lead to addiction problems. A former addict who know works for the Charity told us of his struggle to quit drugs, how he started, how it affects your life and how it affects your sporting life. I found this very interesting and it was a great presentation.

Friday was a hard day consisting of rugby where we looked at support and rucking technique. Then a lower body weights session and conditioning. After this day of training you can head home knowing you deserve some rest.

Next week we have our first home league game against Truro who won the Daily Mail Cup last season. This will be a big test and a massive step up to Exeter. As a team we look forward to this challenge and welcoming them to our home ground Twyford Avenue.


Wasps vs. Ivybridge College - Drew Horne

After a five hour bus journey Wasps started the game with a good kick pinning the home side their 22. Bridge box kicked their way out of their half a strategy they would use to good effect through the course of the game. A Good line out from Wasps set up the first attacking opportunity of the game and a good handling move from the backs sent Heath Stevens over the gain line. The ball was retained and passed to Will Bigley who made a further dent in the home defence. The ball was moved down the back line again and only resolute tackling prevented Wasps making the opening score.

This was the case for the majority of the half with Wasps putting together some good passages of play from solid set pieces but not being able to make the all important break through. The lineout was functioning well but the scrum in particular was providing a good launch pad for Wasps backs to attack as Brennan, Smith and Bigley put the opposition front row under considerable pressure.

Bridge though were able to secure the first points of the game when from another box kick they forced a 5m scrum and after battering away with the forwards eventually managed to cross the line. Bridge crossed for a second try just before half-time as they again used their kicking strategy to secure field position and neat handling saw their centre score.

The second half was a less fluid affair from a wasps perspective as the physical size of the Bridge pack began to take its toll. The front row still maintained its dominance and Alex Fan was a constant threat in the loose and gave an excellent all round performance at No 8. Bridge eventually ran at winners by 22-0 but this was a very creditable performance against one of the best sides in the country and the signs are that we are improving every week and look forward to the challenge of Exeter next week.


21st – 27th September- Alex Fan

The training this week has been intense as we build into the last week of warm up matches before the league kicks off next week against Ivybridge.

We had a hard day on Monday with weights and conditioning and a team run on Tuesday in the lead up to the game with Henley. After the initial early exchanges it was clear that we were the more dominant side especially at set plays and our strength in contact led to a very promising performance from the whole team. We managed to string together a number of phases and work to our pattern of play and raced into a twenty eight-point lead by half time. We continued to maintain our composure and pressed home our advantage and ran out winners by 52 – 0, our defence remained strong throughout the game and the 0 was a testament to the work we have been doing in this area with Hoads. However next weeks match will prove to be a much sterner test as we face the winners of last years league, Ivybridge.

As part of the AASE programme apprentices study to attain an NVQ in sport specialising in rugby, developing our skills in analysis and the characteristics required to become a professional rugby player. By developing our understanding of rugby off the pitch we will become better players on the pitch.


14th – 20th September - Alex Fan

This week we spent a good deal of time working on individual skills that have been identified as needing attention through goal setting and performance profiling. We have set ourselves a range of goals focusing on technical, tactical, lifestyle or physical aspects of being a rugby player which need addressing to enable us to maximise our potential as individuals. With the performance profiling we give ourselves a grade out of five for a variety of physical and technical/tactical areas, the coaches then do the same and then discuss how closely these match up to ensure we are working on the appropriate areas. We all now have individual targets for the next twelve weeks, these we will then be reviewed to asses our progress. If we improve these areas as individuals then this will reflect in our collective team performance.

As a team we have been working hard on the aspects of play that needed addressing following the Truro tournament. We have also been working hard on our strength and conditioning as we are in the final stages of our intensive pre-season training. This week we have another warm up festival with two thirty five minute games so everyone will get a run out as we move into the league programme next week.

The Hartpury Festival was organised by the RFU as part of the playing programme for the AASE league and we were drawn against a team from the northern league, Worcester and Exeter who we will meet in a few weeks time in the southern league. Our first game against Exeter saw us dominant in the scrum and lineout and after a bit of motivation from our coaches our physicality stepped up to our expected standards and we came out with a convincing victory by 28 -12. We next had to face in Worcester who were more than likely going to step up to our own physicality. This match proved to be a real test of our development in skills as it was very tight throughout the match. After going 5 – 0 down in the first half we came back to level the score and maintained pressure on them for the rest of the half within their 22, however we were unable to capitalise on it. The final score was 5 – 5, and overall this was a positive performance with improvements made on our last outing.


Pre-season Truro Tournament: 26th-27th August - Will Bigley

On Tuesday morning we arrived at Wasps for a training session at 10am. This involved our defensive patterns led by Rob Hoadley then a team run-throughs looking at our attack shape. We then settled into the mini-bus for our long awaited 6 hours journey down to Truro.

On Wednesday morning we had our first match against Bridge End, we knew from previous tournaments that this would be a very physical encounter. We stayed physical throughout the match and made them work hard for the ball and had the majority of the possession. However, our discipline around the breakdown area was extremely poor and we gave away silly penalties, which allowed them to gain cheap territory. It was from one of these indiscressions that from a lineout they scored the only try of the game.

Our second game was against Millfeild, the eventual winners of the tournament. We had a very promising first half against them, dominating them physically upfront and having the majority of possession throughout the half, going into the break 5-0 up. In the second half our discipline around the breakdowns and one on one tackling was poor, this coupled with some good attacking play by the opposition meant that our first half dominance was negated as the scored the tries they need to win the game. Our final match of the day was against Worthing; we again played well in patches but could not maintain any consistent pressure and the game finished 12-12.
We were obviously disappointed with the results and performance of the 1st day but Locky explained that the festival was about learning to play together and we could not expect to gel from the 1st minute. The objective for the next day was to develop more consistency in our performance and take individual and collective responsibility rather than waiting for others to set the example.

On Thursday we were put into the plate competition and managed to make some of the improvement we required as we beat Bishops Wandsorth and drew with Ivybridge to reach the final of this competition. We did though not manage to up our level again as we lost in the final to Ivybridge in a game which we failed to capitalise on our opportunities.

There were though many positives to be bought out this tournament as the srummaging and lineouts were promising considering the heavy rain. We also managed to develop play to 6-7 phases. This festival has been a major learning curve for all the players both on and off the pitch as we have realised that we have to be more independent and organised in all aspects of Apprenticeship life. We now have four days off before we are back in next week for the 1st week of school.


WEEK 2 - Jack Dupay

The schedule for the second week of pre-season looked more challenging than the first, with Monday morning starting with an upper body gym session and strength tests. The afternoon followed on with a running mechanics session and hand-eye co-ordination. We finished the day with a conditioning game, with the tackler being made to run to his own try line and then returning to play.

On Tuesday morning we all attended an AASE volunteering meeting that gave us all a good indication of what we had to do for the next three weeks. Before the meeting we all decided which groups we wanted to be in, according to the jobs that were given. In the meeting we were told where each group had to work and which jobs needed to be done. After the meeting we had the rest of the day off to prepare ourselves and relax before the next three busy days with volunteering on top of training.

The Wednesday morning began with each group starting their volunteering hours in the place where they had been allocated. After the morning's voluntary work we all returned to the Wasps for a busy afternoon involving speed and agility, grip strength, passing, three-on- two and a lower body session in the gym.

Thursday morning was the same as the previous day with volunteering and then training starting later in the afternoon with running mechanics, proprioception, hand eye co-ordination and then the hardest part of the whole week - a knackering warrior session, where we all improved upon our times from the previous week.

Coming to the last day of the second week, I think most members of the squad felt the soreness of the warrior and lower body gym session. This was when the ice baths were needed. The Friday training involved speed and agility, grip strength, passing and another session of conditioning games, where improvements in skill levels and basic play could be seen to have occurred from the Monday.

Over the course of this week I think all of the squad members have bonded together extremely well and that the second year apprentices have made very good impressions on the first years.


WEEK 1 - Jake Holland

Starting the journey

Starting the journey

My first week at wasps has been one of the best weeks of rugby training I have done with a team in my short career to date. The training, coaches and facilities are the best around and along with the other players I’m enjoying being in an environment were you are pushed to be the best that you can be.

This week we have focused quite a lot on skills and agility, emphasizing passing, grip and footwork (quick feet). We have also done APE (Athletic Performance Enhancement) which helps strengthen joints to prevent injury along with upper/lower body strength sessions in the gym.

We have also had an individual movement screening, this involved us performing certain movement patterns to see if we had any weaknesses or imbalances that need to be addressed. Some of us have a bit to work on in this area...

Away from the pitch Wasps have also helped me and my team mates to get involved with a volunteering programme. We have organized ourselves into groups and next week we will start working on a project for the next three weeks. I am going to be helping to decorate a hostel for young people who have had to move out of their homes. Personally I think that this could help to become more self reliant and proactive, which could quite possibly help us become better players on the field.

I have enjoyed my first week as an Apprentice at Wasps and I am looking forward to the challenges that will arise as I look to make the most out of the opportunity that I have do develop myself as a rugby player.

Thanks for reading this and one of my team mates will let you know how we got on next week.