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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.
Friday 27th August 2010
More than a year already

 My wife and I have now been in France for more than a year now and the time has flown by. Looking back I think it took me a lot longer than I thought to settle in properly, allowing me to fully focus on rugby and stop worrying about what was going on off the field.
I started around 18 games last year and played in another 6 more from the bench. This was a nice return for me I think in a season where I don't think I was near my best. This season, I am feeling totally different. I was looking forward to getting stuck into pre season and have spent the last few weeks since we started on July 1st working really hard on my game. There has been a large amount of time and sweat that has gone into training so far and I have also spent more time developing my confidence. You may think that this is something that would come naturally to sports people - I am sure it does for some but for me it is something I have to work at and I am now feeling the benefits of this.
Last season we exceeded our goals by finishing 2nd in the league, eventually being knocked out in extra time by Clermont who went on to win the Top 14. Our goal was simply to finish in the Top 6. In our European Challenge Cup adventure we set a goal of having a 1/4 final to play in at home. We failed that and had one away in Connacht which we won and then we got to the Final which was played in Marseille. We lost a game we should have won to a string Cardiff outfit.
This season we are looking forward to the new challenge of the Top 14 - we lost our first game at home (we hadn't lost at home for 15 months!) to Bayonne and then went away in Round 2 to European Champions Biarritz and won where we hadn't for the last 29 years! Random start but hoping we can continue in that vein and progress through the season. We also have a fantastic group in the Heineken Cup to look forward to with the likes of Munster and Ospreys to face. Not easy by any means, but something that we are all looking forward to.

Posted by: , on August 27th 2010 on 07:51am0 Comments
Monday 22nd March 2010
6 months in.....

 I have now been on the Cote d’Azur for about 6 months and life is still a challenge sometimes but I think Kate and I are both starting to get more from this experience. I think to start with the whole novelty of living in a new country means that you don’t approach life as you would at home in the UK but gradually we are getting used to this as normality.

It was strange to be away from Newcastle for the build up to Christmas, for a start the sun was shining and only two weeks before I was sitting in the garden reading my book in just a t-shirt! There were great little Christmas villages with mini chalets selling loads of local gifts, warm gluvine and some great food. We had a week off over Christmas, which we spent with family in Ponteland. It was good to see them and friends at Newcastle Falcons but unfortunately thanks to British Airways, it was slightly stressful as they lost my bag until Christmas Eve!

On the field we are still on target to reach our goals for the season. As a team that has been brought together this year, I thought it was going to be much harder for us to bond as a group but surprisingly, we are a very tight unit and things are on track. We are heading towards the ¼ finals of the European competition (depending on the result this Saturday!) and we should finish in the Top 6 in the French league allowing us access to the Heineken Cup next season.

Last week we went to play Saracens in London. Each season we are allowed to take 2 jokers which means you can stay over in the place you have just played and not travel back with the team. I asked for mine when we headed to London so I could stay over and see family and friends and what a stroke of luck, we drew Saracens on a Thursday night allowing me the whole weekend to play!! I took some stick for that but nothing that would have stopped me having a night out in London…… My night out in London was probably nothing compared to the nights out that my ex-Newcastle teammate Ollie Phillips seems to be having in Paris. The reports that come in from Paris every week regularly feature star names like 50 Cent and Kanye West. He seems to be loving life up in the capital and knowing Ollie, he knows everyone already!

We are moving house again which is going to be a slight pain but the house we live in is being sold and we were under pressure for a week or so to find a house very quickly as it is very hard to find property down here. We found a newly built house and the view is fantastic, out to sea and maybe 15 miles in each direction. I can’t wait until summer comes in March (earlier than Newcastle!) so we can enjoy it properly.

We only have one game in February, away against Toulouse and we have a week’s holiday that I am looking forward to. Have a good month and I will look forward to updating you at the end of February.


Posted by: , on March 22nd 2010 on 03:14pm0 Comments
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