RGC face 3 away trips on the bounce, starting with Swansea this Saturday.
The All Whites will be high in confidence after 2 wins against Aberavon and Merthyr, so the hattrick of victories will be in their sight.
We caught up with Latham Tawhai to get some thoughts from the touchline
How much is putting in a good away performance due to mindset?
Away games bring with it much discussion and debate on what the best preparation is, both leading up to the game and game day itself. Luckily, we’ve been doing it for a while now and considering the make-up of our squad who travel from all corners of North Wales, the team do a pretty good job of dealing with the challenges we face.
Regardless of what each player has to deal with, we still need to get our game mentality right. Of course, the same applies for home games too but there are a few more variances to deal with when playing away.
Any competitive athlete will tell you the importance of routine and a lot of our guys have developed their own “away game” routines. Whether that be to do with travelling the day before and sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings or getting up early and travelling on the day, some are better at it than others, largely down to the fact they have done it for a few years now. Even so, it’s a continuous work on for everyone.
With an average age of about 22 (even lower when Andrew Williams isn’t playing - sorry Andrew lol) the experience these guys are developing will be hugely beneficial for their futures.
As a coaching group can weather change plans for trainuing and gameday?
Weather is naturally another challenge we have to take in to consideration, particularly at this time of year and whilst some grounds don’t cope too well with the wet, this week’s venue St Helens Rugby Ground is better than most. With it being pretty close to the sea though, the wind can come in to play but after last week’s game during Storm Dennis, we’ve certainly gained some experience dealing with the wind.
I think one of the biggest cheers of the day came when we managed to kick a ball that didn’t go dead! But we’ll learn from it as we did as the game went on.
After last week, we (the coaches) had some interesting debate on this and the general consensus is we’ve got to find the high percentage options but at the same time be ready for anything. Ready to react. That’s a mindset thing and overall, we were pleased with how the boys dealt with some of the adverse situations we found ourselves in to defend our line.
Not quite oily rugby balls ala Gatland’s RWC preparations, but we’ve incorporated the odd soapy wet rugby ball drill in our sessions over the last few weeks to help prepare for the conditions. Seemed to have had some benefits last week as I thought the boys generally handled the ball quite well.
Whilst the weather might not be as bad this weekend, we’re still going to have to be just as resilient to deal with a Swansea team on the up. They’ve won their last few games against teams above them on the table and will fancy themselves at home. We’ll see.
For those of you making the journey down, travel safe and we look forward to that fantastic Gog Family support once again on the road.
Last 5 Matches for Swansea
Swansea 13 Aberavon 10
Merthyr 5 Swansea 10
Newport 17 Swansea 0
Llanelli 14 Swansea 20
Bridgend 17 Swansea 3
Head to Head
Last time out RGC won 21-3, with tries from Rhys Tudor, Billy McBryde and Pen Try