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The players have been staying at Hard Labor Creek State Park (how's that for a name?) in Georgia near the Oconee National Forest. The players are staying in cabins with a central meal cabin and a nearby lake.
No cell phones.
The lack of cell phones did throw many players into a fit of sensory
deprivation, but it was all by design. Head Coach Jason Kelly knows that
for his team to have a shot at challenging the bigger, more experienced,
and better funded South Africa, France and England, they will have to play
as a single unit. As a result, camping together is part of his
team-unification plan. The athletes spend the evening around the camp fire,
talking, telling stories. They play cards and Monopoly.
During the day they train in rugby, but have also gone through other activities, including an adventure race complete with river crossings and riddles, and a lot of running.
On Tuesday, the team traveled into civilization, as they visited the Life University men's team and scrimmaged at Life's Marietta, Ga. facility. Life had already donated use of their scrum machine and some other equipment, and the game was useful for both squads.
Now the squad of 29 will be pared down to 28, with one player kept on-call as an alternate. That decision will be made tonight, Wednesday. The team will then train once more at the camp before driving to the Atlanta area. After a couple of sessions at Life (field and equipment once again donated), they will fly to Paris on Friday, connecting onto another plane to go to Nantes, and then busing it to La Roche-sur-Yon.
There they will face South Africa on Tuesday, June 5, France on June 9, and England on June 13. All games to be played at Stade Henri Desgrange, named after a pioneering French cyclist and journalist.