Username Password
Chat about Rugby in our Forum
everything rugby
Our Sponsor
Our Sponsor
Home > Blogs > French Top 14 - A new life in France
Your NewsFrench Top 14 - A new life in France
Follow the life of Everything Rugby team member Tom May as he begins life in the South of France with Toulon.
Monday 23rd November 2009
The Next Month or two.....

 The next month or so here in France for Toulon is big. We have just arrived back from a week or so break where lads were told to go away and forget rugby. I think we can safely say that most guys took the chance with some pleasure. There is nothing better than a mid season break - something that may only come in February in the UK when the Six Nations are on if players have not been picked for representative squads. However, coming back from this we had to face a very determined Brive side this weekend just past and we looked very rusty and could have and probably should have finished the game winning by a more convincing win than 19 - 10 but if you win when you haven't played particularly well then you can't really complain!!

This week coming we have Stade Francais away in Paris and then the following week we have Racing Metro, again away and again, in Paris. We need to get something from these games. We are now 5th in the league and have only just started to really know how each other play and develop as a team. I think we have a great opportunity this weekend at Stade as they are missing several key players who are either injured or on international duty and we have a near enough full squad to choose from, except for our Argentine contingent of Juan Fernandez Lobbe and Esteban Lozada. After these two games we have to games home and away against Rovigo in the European Challenge Cup, which I am sure we can win to help us continue our form in our group. 
This takes us up to Christmas where we have another week where we can go home. This is great! In the English Premiership you normally find yourself training on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day at some point which means that Christmas arrives and finishes in the blink of an eye. I am returning to Newcastle for the first time since I left in the summer and I am staying with my brother in law, Hall Charlton, for the Christmas period. I am flying back the Nice in the 27th December for training in the afternoon and then we have a game at home against Albi on the 3rd January. We have two games in a week with an away game against Clermont which will be very tough.
This next month or so can really set us up for the end of the season and it is great to be playing in a squad that is capable of really doing something within months of being assembled. We NEED points from both of the next two away games if possible and this is something we are very positive about doing. This should take us another spot up the league and then we can look to Rovigo and Albi as another set of games which we have to come away with wins from.
The public down in Toulon expect and the pressure comes from them through the coaches to the players, but it is not pressure we wouldn't put on ourselves anyway. As a group we set out our goals at the start of the season in Serre Chevalier on camp and we are heading towards those goals now and it would be great to achieve them so soon as a team.
Christmas is a great period for parties and seeing friends and families but as professional players it is also a time when we can take the team forward and really set ourselves up in a position for a great end to the season.


Posted by: , on November 23rd 2009 on 04:14pm0 Comments
Monday 16th November 2009
4 months in and life is good

 It is now the 16th November and we have just got back together (last night) after having had a week off from training. We played 14 games on the bounce in the space of 12 weeks and the start to the season here has gone fairly well. We are where we want to be in the table (Top 6) and we know we could be slightly higher but for a couple of dodgy refereeing decisions!
Life over in France has been good but at times far from easy. I think the guys at the club find life so much easier than the wives and at times I do feel slightly sorry for them as it is very difficult for them to get into life out here; it's certainly not an easy thing to do anyway. Many of them don't speak French to a fantastic standard, if at all, and this can prove very difficult when practicing within a less forgiving public. Us lads can make some horrific howlers when we are talking but we can get them out of the way among our friends and colleagues at the club.
The rugby has been going well. We are starting to gel as a team and we are playing more expansive rugby now that we know each other much better as players. The start of the season was hard and we played a much more conservative game - probably a wise idea given the early season temperatures!! 
We have a very strong squad and sometimes you can look around in training and wonder how all of these players get game time! We seemed to have managed it and the lads that have played well when they have been given the chance have always been in with a shout. Coming from an environment where I was in a position where I knew that I could hope strongly that I would be playing every week it has been difficult at times to sit out and watch or come on from the bench but I knew this would be the case coming here. Hopefully, this may prolong my career and mean I can carry on into my mid 30's as I look after myself well and love the conditioning side of the game. I have started 9 games up until now and come on from the bench in another 3 so I have only missed out on 2 games this season which I can be fairly happy with. You just have to keep your head down, work hard every day, try to get better and enjoy what life brings over here.
Off the field my life is very different from back in the UK. My wife and I are playing tennis at the local tennis club 2 or 3 times a week and playing in some matches which is an interesting if not frustrating experience! We go bike riding in the nearby hills with the dogs and generally spend much more of our life outside. I love this and the things that we did back in Newcastle like going out at the weekends regularly do not seem to such a priority over here. We have been out a couple of times but nothing like the number of times we would expect to have been out in the UK. I like waking up at the weekends and feeling fresh to be honest! You can do much more with you weekends.
I have been fairly sloppy in updating this blog and am going to update it far more often from now on as the things that have been tying me up and stopping me from having the time have now been done.
Send in some questions if you like and I will try and answer them for you as much as I can.
Cheers for now.

Posted by: , on November 16th 2009 on 04:34pm0 Comments
join Free
Free Site
Online Coaching