14 Aug 2013
Waikato Stadium and Auckland

Waikato Stadium and Auckland

This morning the boys had the chance to visit the Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on our way to Auckland, where we will be flying out from tomorrow when we travel to the Cook Islands.
Waikato Stadium is home to the Super 15 franchise The Chiefs (the current back-to-back champions), the Waikato region ITM cup team (holders of the prestigious Ranfurly Shield) and also hosts at least one All Blacks international every year, as well as a range of other NZ sports fixtures.

The tour was both informative and interesting, giving the boys a chance to walk on the pitch, go in the home dressing room and indoor warm up area, the analysis room, the gym (where the boys were all tested on their core strength by the Waikato head of strength and conditioning), the press room and finally the lecture room. In here the Waikato players review game and training footage, discuss tactics and analyse personal performance, amongst other things. We were treated to video of the home teams training as well as a talk on player development, what they look for in a player and what they expect from them once they play for their team.

This year two Waikato players are on an exchange at Old Elthamians rugby club and will be helping to coach at the school, so this was a great way for the current crop of Eltham College players to start what will hopefully be a very successful link with Waikato rugby. A massive thank you has to go Mike Crawford, head of development at Waikato, for taking us around the facilities and for speaking to the boys in a way that definitely opened a few eyes.

After the visit to the stadium we travelled on to Auckland and, after presenting Mr Cotterill with his very own Waikato shirt (it is his birthday), all the players went for dinner in NZ's largest city and celebrated a successful 17 days in NZ.