Old friends come home to roost

I could get used to life in Salta, Argentina. There is lots of sunshine and temperatures in the mid-20s - and it’s their winter too!

I have also sneaked in nine holes of golf with the lads on our day off as we prepare for the first Test against the Pumas this weekend.

I used to be quite good at it before rugby and my kids took up a fair chunk of my time.

I’m not as sharp these days but that didn’t stop me and Ben Foden taking the spoils this week. I even had to carry him for most of the round!

England players (incl. Ben Foden and Richard Wigglesworth) manage to fit in some golf whilst on tour in Argentina.

It’s been superb to spend some time with Ben. Me and him used to share a house when we were in the Sale Academy together many moons ago.

I am pleased to report that his hygiene skills have improved considerably since then.

We are not here to enjoy the weather or the local sports’ scene, though. We are here to win a Test series and we have been training well ahead of the weekend’s opener against the Pumas.

We know exactly how big a test that is going to be as Argentina are a passionate nation with some excellent players and are developing at a fast rate.

Our warm-up game for the Test series came in Uruguay last weekend when we played a very committed representative team in the capital Montevideo.

It was a good win for us after a big win over the Barbarians the previous week and gave us all a chance to work on combinations and playing with each other.

The stadium we played in was like nothing I had ever seen before. A small concrete bowl with a pitch in the middle. It was almost surreal playing in that environment but good to have a hit out and blow out any cobwebs of the long flight out here.

We have had two more flights to get here to Salta which is quiet and picturesque.

Certainly not in the 'quiet' category is my Saracens defence coach Paul Gustard who is here on tour with us as part of the England coaching staff.

The boys have certainly responded well to his very varied meetings and presentations that he has been putting together!

I don’t think you’ll find much of his work in a textbook.

Watch the England tour on Sky Sports, you can watch on Now TV without getting a Sky subscription.



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