The Demands I Make Of Myself ...................
The lure of the end of season match at a sell out Twickenham, the renewal of a century old rivalry that has so much history underpinning its unique challenge, the desire to retain a hard one Inter Services championship. Powerful motivation all but to ensure you are one of the chosen 23 to pull on the red jersey that day the goals have to be shorter; the focus closer to the now.
Whether in training or in the warm up matches previous performance only counts for so much and there is always someone mounting a new challenge to capture the number that you want to wear on your back. Later a warm weather training camp will make the preparation task a little easier but one of the truisms in sport is that ultimately the motivation has to come from within. The demand you make of yourself to get of the ground that split second quicker. The demand to make one more tackle when lungs are bursting. The demand you make to kick one more practice goal as you hone a technique to withstand pressure. The demand you make to once more offer yourself to carry the ball in to an onrushing defence.
On the 5th May, February will be a forgotten month. The rugby will all be in the moment. The players will enter the stadium to a raucous, cacophony of noise. East London RFC will not be in the fore front of their minds. Few of the 82,000 were on the sodden, muddy touchline that bleak Wednesday night. Yet for the players who wore the red jersey against the British Police it was as important a match as any other and the weather could not be used as an excuse in front of the watching coaches. The conditions only accentuate the demands that exist in every game and though rugby is so much a team sport the demands a player makes of themselves remains the most greatest demand of all.
Images captured by Andrew Fosker of Seconds Left Images with post production by Alligin Photography. A photo story produced for the Army RUgby Union.