Taking time out from the preparations for the Wales match, Paul O’Connell talks about using sled pulling as a training method and gives his views on the progress of Munster, Everton and Barcelona.
Life has been pretty uneventful since the last diary. Having left the delights of Carton House behind, I trained on the Friday of last week doing some sled pulling – and not a husky in sight!
The angle at which a player moves while pulling a sled mimics the way you run in a match. It’s an applicable discipline rather than simply doing leg weights in the gym.
You start with 220 kilos and then go down to 110 before finally sprinting without any harness, basically running minus any weight. It hits the body across all different levels.
I watched Munster’s victory over the Dragons and enjoyed a performance from a team that was a nice mix of youth and experience.
I thought Munster went really well in securing the bonus point win and what was especially pleasing were the performances of some of the young players.
Stephen Archer had a fine game, especially in the scrum, Conor Murray did well at scrum half, so too Simon Zebo on the wing and Declan Cusack at out-half. The performance of these young guys augurs well.
The boys mixed up the game nicely, kicking well and then taking the opportunities when they presented themselves.
I kept track of Everton’s results, which centred largely on their resilience in coming back in the Newcastle and Birmingham games.
I did watch Barcelona’s win over Arsenal and have to admit to some sympathy for Robert van Persie. I thought it was a harsh decision by the referee and definitely changed the nature of the contest. People spoke about Barcelona’s dominance but the better team doesn’t always win matches.
Having said that, and understanding Arsene Wenger’s frustration afterwards, I love watching Barcelona play. The combine skill with a huge work-rate, the latter quality occasionally overshadowed by the quality of their football, but no less important.
I have a huge amount of time for (Lionel) Messi both as a phenomenal talent but also his modesty and the way he applies himself for the sake of the team.
Looking ahead to this weekend, we’ve spent time tidying up one or two aspects of our game and to be honest we’re just looking forward to taking the pitch at the Millennium Stadium.
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Paul’s blogs are on www.bethedifference.ie