Rayer and Hogben impressed as Bedford return to training
BEDFORD Blues returned to training at the weekend and it was the first time that new fitness and conditioning coach Paddy Hogben has had the chance to cast his eye over the squad.
Hogben, who worked in a similar position at Bath RC between 2004 and 2008, picks up the fitness reins from Jamie Bain who left Goldington Road at the end of the season to take up a new role at Gloucester RC.
On Saturday morning, the players headed off to the University of Bedfordshire facility at Alexander Sports Centre to undertake some running tests and then on Monday they were into the Sports Science lab at the Polhill Campus where they were given the once over by biomechanics lecturer and strength scientist Dr Iain Fletcher.
Over the course of the season, Blues will be working with the University of Bedfordshire to carry out in-depth analysis into players’ maximum strength and peak power so that training plans can be put in place to ensure the Goldington Road faithful see a more ‘explosive’ player. The analysis also measures body fat levels.
Hogben said: “Overall I’m really impressed with the level of fitness that the players have and they all seem in really good shape after the summer break.
“I’ve probably been most impressed by Paul Tupai who has returned in excellent condition and he is a real example to the younger lads of how to look after yourself.”
Director of rugby Mike Rayer said: “It’s good to hook up with the lads again and they’re all in good shape.
“The fitness levels are good and we’ve started off well, obviously we’ll get better and better as we progress but the effort and work-rate is right up there. They’ve been fantastic.
“It’s great to get the new boys involved. We got stuck straight into some rugby stuff because that’s what they enjoy – some ball in hand and a bit of contact.
“Both the trial players are keeping their heads down and getting on with it, their work-rate is great but at the moment we’re doing some general stuff and there are a lot of bodies there so it’s difficult.
“I’m not going to judge anybody on two sessions. We’ve gone right back to basics and we have to get back into little things like passing the ball correctly because of the time off and then we’ll add the decision making and contact skills on top of that.”
Hogben’s 2012 could have been quite a different year as the 28-year-old left Bath to try and claim a spot in the Great British Olympic Canoeing team.
Despite never sitting in a canoe until he was 24, Hogben took to the sport like the proverbial duck to water but narrowly missed out on selection.
He added: “The fact was that I wasn’t quite quick enough on the day which was a shame, and it meant that I had to get my career back on track.
“Thankfully I was in touch with the strength and conditioning coach at Saracens who mentioned that Bedford were in need of someone, I contacted Mike and here I am.
“It is day one but the lads are in excellent overall condition. Everyone can always improve whether it is fitness, strength or conditioning but Jamie did a great job and I want to build on the success that he had.”
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Weather for Bedford
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 10 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North