This article is part of the USA Women's Eagles Final in '14 blog. All entries are written exclusively by members of the women's national team.
The team has settled into beautiful Granville for our Pre-World Cup camp. Granville is a small port town in the Normandy and it is called the Monaco of the North - at least by the Mayor of Granville who held a reception for the team tonight.
Our set up here is great. We are staying at the CRNG, which is right by the ocean (see the picture of the view from our rooms) and we are two minutes’ walk from downtown. We have a shuttle up to the Granville Rugby pitch, which is in great condition and has locker rooms, gym and meeting rooms. The locals have made us very welcome and really done everything they can to make our stay feel special.
We have had three days practice and for the first time in my three years as head coach we can come back to skills every day. Normally when the team is assembled we have a game coming up so we have to quickly implement structure to help the team perform. In fact most of the time you are in a high performance environment as a coach it is much more about building structure than actually doing skill development.
We have 12 days and 17 practices before we play Ireland - really half a season of club rugby - and we are focusing on improving in a few skill areas that we think is important for us to implement our approaches to play. There are a number of activities that we are doing regularly to help us improve. The players have enjoyed being able to return to previous activities and improve.
Our tour to the UK was important for the team. We had two test matches and a scrimmage and it was a chance for this squad to play together. Our performance against England at the end was very encouraging - despite losing 17-13 - and while we know we need to be better at the World Cup it gave us confidence that we can play with a top team.
We have an intra-squad scrimmage in the next couple of days and then on the weekend we are going to scrimmage the Granville Men's U20 team that will give us a chance to play against a faster team who can play wide. We have work to do but we are all excited about the opportunity that is in front of us.