Tom Rees Column
Painful start to the season
September 17, 2009
Will Wasps skipper Tom Rees and director of rugby Tony Hanks get their hands on the Premiership silverware this season? © Getty Images
After being compared to Anthony Perkins and his portrayal of Norman Bates in Psycho, I can't help but feel that were Mr Perkins alive to see my part in the television advert for the new Guinness Premiership, he would be honoured by the comparison.
The way I managed to stumble into a London taxi (nearly undoing the surgery on my shoulder in the process) and deliver all of two words to the driver, whilst being chased by a pack of rugby players, was clearly Oscar material and I await my nomination in the post.
Aside from accidents doing my own stunts, I am recovering well from the surgery in the summer and hope to return to playing in the next few weeks. Whilst no one is ever keen for surgery and the lay-off that follows, it's important to always make the most of the situation, and in this case I have been able to get a lot of quality leg work into my extended pre-season and hopefully this will stand me in good stead for when I get back onto the pitch. However, one side affect of all this lower body work is that my enthusiasm for cycling into work in the mornings has evaporated by the time it comes to the journey home - all five minutes of it.
The recovery has also meant that I've had to watch to rest of the team prepare for and start the season, which is never easy at the best of times, but after being made Club Captain it feels downright painful. It's a huge honour to be asked to be Captain, and a challenge that I'm looking forward to, but with plenty of time to dwell on it there is a danger that I over think my role. With this in mind I asked a number of guys with far more experience than me for some advice and the one thing they all said is the most important thing as a Captain is simply to play well yourself. Easier said than done, but as targets go it's a pretty good one. And besides, the boys seem to be doing perfectly well without me.
It's been a good summer at Wasps with a new look to the place. Not because of the new faces that have come in but because someone has finally put a fresh coat of paint on the doors and walls and we have a great big fence around the 1st team pitch. The new personnel have all fitted in well on both the coaching and playing side. Tony Hanks, our new Director of Rugby, was actually at the club when I joined the Academy in 2003 and has returned from New Zealand as he couldn't resist the lure of our Acton base!
The new players' biggest challenge on joining the Club is to work their way through the minefield that is choosing a locker in the changing rooms. Rugby players are territorial creatures and as most will have changed in the same spot for their entire time at a club, they can react very aggressively to anyone trying to move in on their space.
With this in mind the boys are always keen to help a new guy find a place and whoever it was that suggested to new winger David Lemi that he put his stuff in Paul Sackey's locker deserves a pat on the back. I myself survived an early skirmish with prop Ben Broster, which I came through unscathed, but I think it had more to do with him being a nice bloke than it did any posturing from me.
The results from the opening fortnight of the season have been fantastic, not just to be two from two, but to reinforce the team spirit that has been built through the summer. Hard fought victories against Quins and Bath are a great building block to move forward from, and things always tend to be easier when you're winning.
Speaking of which, James Haskell was back in the country last week for a charity 7s tournament he is involved with and we grabbed a bite to eat and caught up. Whilst he is certainly enjoying his time in France, which bar a spot of road rage and a few rude Parisians has been good, sadly the same can't be said for the rugby with James admitting that he had thought they were going to win everything before notching just one victory in their first five games. Whilst we were eating, Stade Francais were busy sacking their coach and as is often the case in the odd world of sport, it seems to have worked as Stade smashed Castres with Hask getting on the score sheet.
Here's hoping a win makes living in the middle of Paris that bit easier, and that Wasps' winning ways continue this weekend against Worcester at Adams Park in our first home game of the season.