- Publish Date
- Wednesday, 19 August 2015, 12:20PM
If you catch sight of Richie McCaw or Dan Carter next week as you walk up the Mount, or rub shoulders with Sonny Bill in the gym, you may not be hallucinating.
Up to half a squad of All Blacks are heading to Tauranga next week for a three-day training camp to keep their engines tuned before selection for the Rugby World Cup.
The camp, run by All Blacks strength and conditioning coach Nic Gill who lives in Tauranga, will take place from August 25-27, just days before the All Blacks World Cup squad will be announced on August 30.
The All Blacks have been released from their international obligations and put on a mix of ITM Cup work, individual conditioning programmes and the Bay of Plenty-based training camp.
Following the team's victory over the Wallabies in the Bledisloe Cup at the weekend All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen confirmed the training camp would be taking place in Tauranga.
The Bay of Plenty Times understands that the camp was part of several players' final preparations before final selection on August 30, while other players would be putting on their provincial rugby jerseys for some ITM cup action or had separate individual training.
For the camp, Dr Gill, in his eighth year working with the All Blacks, would be running outdoor sessions in the Bay, as well as using the high-performance area that he heads at the new Aspire Health and Sports facilities that opened its doors in Bethlehem last month.
Dr Gill, who has a PhD in exercise physiology and is an associate professor at Auckland University of Technology, had based the facility on high-performance centres he has worked in during his international career.
As well as the high-performance area headed by Gill, the All Blacks in Tauranga would be able to make use of other gym facilities which include a Ludus Magnus arena, indoor running track, 25m heated pool, hot and cold plunge pools for recovery and a health-focused cafe.
Aspire gym owner Marc Patel said it was a privilege for Tauranga to be able to help the All Blacks keep in shape as the August 30 deadline approached when the All Black selectors would reveal the players they would take to England to try to collect the Webb Ellis Cup again.
"Both Nic and myself were passionate about having a quality facility in the Bay of Plenty where athletes of international calibre such as the All Blacks could have all their training needs met in one location. Before there was no way this region could attract half the All Blacks up here for a three-day camp. It is very exciting for the community."
Aspire gym manager Ruth Barber said the gym would run "business as usual" next week while the team were in town, meaning that members might find themselves doing laps with the likes of Nehe Milner-Skudder or pumping iron with Victor Vito or Sonny Bill Williams. "It is part of the vibe and philosophy here that locals can train alongside sports people. Everyone just gets their head down and get things done."
All Blacks Charlie Faumuina and Steven Luatua had already trained at Aspire. All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw was also no stranger to using facilities in Tauranga given his partner Black Sticks star Gemma Flynn hails from the Bay.
All Blacks strength and conditioning coach Nic Gill and Marc Patel, Aspire Gym owner.
All Blacks' schedule
Some players will be required to attend conditioning camp in Tauranga August 25, 26, 27 under trainer Nic Gill.
August 30: World Cup squad named, Wellington.
August 31-September 2: Training camp, Wellington.
September 7-9: Training camp, Auckland.
September 10: Squad travel to London for World Cup.
Source: Bay of Plenty Times