IT’S not all work, work, work.
Important as the four matches will be on the 2013 Academy Tour of Australia – team bonding and gaining life experience will be just as vital.
As in previous trips, the players will be able to take part in body boarding and surfing in Manly, a jet boat ride, white water rafting and other events.
This time round they will also visit the Sydney Swans to find out what goes on inside the organisation and the values they hold.
The Academy’s outside backs and kickers will also enjoy a kick and catch session at the AFL side.
It’s an experience Adam Saunders can’t wait for.
“I’ve played rugby since I was six and became at scholar at Saints at 11,” he said. “I’m now full time and got some good game time this year. It has been everything I have expected and I can’t wait for the tour.
“I feel a bit of pressure to perform considering how previous tourists have performed. They have been really successful.
“I’m excited and a little nervous as it gets closer. I’m really looking forward to playing in the games against the Aussie teams the most and the first game is before the Australia v New Zealand junior match too.
“I’ll be part of Eric Chisnall’s team and I’m looking forward to it and mixing with all my teammates.”
Second rower Lewis Hatton agrees with Adam when he says the tour is the perfect opportunity to bond with the squad.
He’s played in the Under 16s this season scoring three tries in eight appearances.
“It’s been a good experience,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed the challenge of fitness, weight training and fitting into the squad. I was told about 18 months ago that I might be selected for the tour and then I got a letter in the post.
“My mum called be at school to tell me and I was really happy. We have done a lot of fund-raising and things like that and loads of people have been happy to donate a bit of money and help.
“But the time has gone so quick and now we are getting ready to go. Playing over there will be superb as will bonding with my teammates. I know how many lads have gone on to play for the first team and I would love that opportunity. The tour will give me the experience and once I am in the over 19s then I can improve and move on.
“I’m in Ian Talbot’s group… and I’ve been told I am the most serious person in that group so it could be fun!”
Danny Richardson reckons Tommy Martyn’s group will be fun too but more seriously he is looking to make the most of his experience.
He joined Saints after playing football for Everton and Widnes Moorfield.
“Saints came in for me at under 15s but I decided to stay at Widnes,” he said. “I regretted it but they came back for me a year later and it was the best decision I have made. I signed this year and have been selected for the tour.
“It was the best feeling of my life being told. I was worrying I hadn’t made it but then I got the letter and was over the moon.
“I’ve always wanted to play our there and I’m hoping to get a lot of game time too. We have only been beaten once so we have to keep that record up.”
You can find out more on the Academy’s Australian Tour by clicking here.
Some pictures from the 2011 tour are below.