How to get ready for the Aussies… man-made lagoons, big Brothers and table tennis
21:40 GMT, 8 June 2012
The Australian press have been bigging
us up ahead of the first Test. The TV advert that has been running in
the build-up calls us the 'European champions' who are coming on to
their turf. It's a bit over the top, but good marketing, good for
ratings and it's quite funny. I guess we are European champions in a
way, but in Wales we call it the Grand Slam!
We trained for the first week out
here with just 16 players so we're sevens specialists now. With the rest
of the squad staying in Cardiff for the Barbarians match, it was a case
of going through patterns of play, set pieces, strike patterns. The jet
lag has been a nightmare but we knew we had to head out here early as
we have a job to do.
George North: Ready for action
For a couple of days we had the help of a local team called Brothers Rugby Club, who are top of their provincial division. They came to train against us and were a decent outfit with a few good players. The second day we even did full contact, every man for himself. They had a back who played fly-half on the first day then moved to the wing on the second. He had a step like Quade Cooper.
I'm sharing a room with fellow wingman Alex Cuthbert.
It's been sorted by positions on this trip. As soon as the first game comes it will all fly by – game, recovery, four days' training, repeat. I haven't even bothered to unpack, I just dip in when I need something. The World Cup was nine weeks but, with matches, recovery and four days' training, each week really does just seem to disappear.
We didn't have any internet for the first few days. Everyone was trying to email friends and family but couldn't. It was $150 for five days' Wi-Fi at the hotel so the boys went off to the shops to buy a dongle. They seem to do the trick. I like Brisbane. On the first night we went to the restaurants on the river which are very nice but it costs about $50 for a small 8oz steak – and it doesn't even come with potatoes!
On the run: Jonathan Davies during training
We haven't been subjected to the cryotherapy capsule here yet but we have been using this man-made lagoon for our warmdown. It is a 20-minute walk from the hotel and it's freezing – I mean UK cold! We all jump in and stand in the water for five or 10 minutes. With the walk back as well, it makes for a good recovery session.
The table tennis isn't going so well as Rhys Priestland is flying again. He beat me yesterday and Mike Phillips is playing well, too. The table is on an open balcony above the hotel lobby and you can hear the boys downstairs. Everyone is quite competitive, as you can imagine, and people at the reception keep looking up, thinking, 'What's going on here'
Warren Gatland has still left his mark on the squad. We have such a system in place that, if you drop a few people out and put a few people in, the machine still works. He's a big person to lose but I'm sure he still has his input even though he's not here physically. The boys have sent a few things across to him and, fingers crossed, his recovery is going well.
People keep asking me about the Lions but I'm honestly not thinking about it. I'm quite superstitious and I don't like talking about things that might not happen. If it happens, it happens; if it doesn't, I'll have to take that on the chin and work harder. But I'm here and we need to knuckle down and win a Test series against Australia.
I wasn't born the last time Wales won out here – I don't even think my parents were! It's a big ask, but we play for each other so we have a good shot at this. We've got a really good chance to take a scalp.
The Scotland match tells us nothing about the Wallabies.
Will Genia was shivering during the second half, that's how bad the conditions were. We watched it to try to take some lessons from it but it was impossible.
It was sunnier in Brisbane. Shaun Edwards and a few of the guys went to the Suncorp Stadium to watch the Broncos play the Newcastle Knights in an NRL match. It's good to get an early peek at the stadium.