Wednesday 13 November 2019

Away days can be tough but Bridgend win would be one to savour

Player diary

From far left: Robin Copeland in action against Sale Sharks’ Ben Curry. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
From far left: Robin Copeland in action against Sale Sharks’ Ben Curry. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Robin Copeland

We lost our way a bit in Sale last weekend but it's great to be back in PRO14 action tonight, and hopefully the lads can front up and we can register a big victory against Ospreys.

It was my birthday this week. I turned 31 on Tuesday and I got a chance to celebrate with my new team-mates. We went to Dela Restaurant on Tuesday evening after training and then on Wednesday we took in some of the Galway Comedy Festival.

Tom Farrell is tackled by Jono Ross and Curry Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
Tom Farrell is tackled by Jono Ross and Curry Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

It was a good way to get my mind off of a tough defeat in England last Saturday. Saying all that, for a large part it was pretty positive. The work-rate that the lads showed on the pitch was absolutely brilliant.

The scoreline probably didn't represent the way the match went. Our discipline in the second half, the yellow card was tough, and it was hard to build momentum after that.

Tough

They took their tries well and we probably didn't score when we should have. There were a few tough calls that went against us. But Sale are a quality outfit. They are a big team and they were probably the better team on the day.

It's great to be able to right some wrongs going into a new competition against Ospreys. We're playing a team we know really well too. They are a quality outfit.

They have got a lot of experience along with some really electric players.

We will have to up our game from last weekend. The guys that are given their chance again need to up it and produce on the day.

It's tough to have back-to-back away days, especially when it's a six-day turnaround. But the S&C guys manage us really well so we can cope with it.

Monday was light enough, there wasn't too much work on the pitch. It was more just a walk-through and some basic phase-play patterns that we needed to get right.

By Tuesday we were fully recovered from the Sale game. We attacked that day heavily and then it tapered off towards the end of the week.

It is tough, especially emotionally, if you beat yourself up after a tough loss. You burst yourself to work hard in that game and if you didn't get the result you feel that bit sorer after it.

It can be tough to get going again the following week. But that is what the S&C guys are there for, to monitor all of that stuff and make sure we are really looked after.

They are there to watch our recovery and nutrition; to make sure that we are fully ready to go for tonight's game.

Everyone does the whole travel side of it differently. We are used to it now. We have travelled a lot for games.

It's about finding a pattern that works for you. You get your recovery in. If you want sleep, sleep. If you want to watch Netflix or listen to music on the travel days then do that.

You just need to make sure that you have your match-day prep done, as good as possible. Hydration is another big one and making sure you are feeding yourself well when you travel.

We are catered for very well. But you just have to make smart choices when are travelling. You need to drink lots of water because your legs can feel quite heavy on travel days.

The day before you make sure you are stretching the legs and getting a massage if you need it and just get the body moving again. You have to flush the previous game's exertions out of the system.

Those days it's between Netflix and napping for me. I will try to catch a few hours' sleep. I always bring two travel pillows with me everywhere I go so I can get comfortable and relax.

In terms of Netflix, I am watching a bit of 'Big Mouth' at the moment. It's an adult cartoon thing and it's pretty funny.

Last weekend I watched 'Winter on Fire', a documentary on the Ukrainian Revolution in 2014. It's unbelievably interesting. Stuff that I was never interested in before.

It's all real-life footage and interviews from the people who were there. It's pretty in-depth and cool too.

It's great to just kick back and take your mind off things by watching something like that. I find it very therapeutic and it makes the trip go that much quicker. But everyone's different.

When it comes to sleeping arrangements some guys stick to the same room-mates on away days but I don't mind really. I mix it up.

I have been with somebody different every time now. I have no issue, I just don't want anyone to snore.

Snorers

There are a few snorers on the team and I can't deal with that when I'm trying to sleep.

It's a bit of an experience to say the least but having done these away trips for years now you get used to it and you learn what makes it that bit easier for you.

The main thing is to make sure you don't miss out on sleep and you are as fit as possible for the game.

It's always easier for the home team because they can live in their own houses for the week. Their match-day will always have more structure to it. There are no buses involved, no planes, no hotels and everything is more familiar.

But it's never an excuse to lose a game either. We are looked after brilliantly on these trips. And tonight's game in Wales is another big opportunity for us to land an away victory against a good team like Ospreys.

Irish Independent

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