I speak for every member of the Saracens squad when I say that it’s great to see our long-haired flanker Jacques Burger flying around all over the place, fit and ready for action.
Jacques was a big reason why we got to two Premiership finals on the trot before he missed almost all of last season through injury.
His enthusiasm is infectious and he is a wonderful team mate to have on the pitch.
He has been flying into rucks during training and pre-season and I don’t envy some of the guys that he will be clearing out during the opening weeks of the season.
One guy who nearly didn’t make the season was winger Chris Ashton.
We have all been to South Africa with the squad this summer to enjoy what was a brilliant time on safari.
We got split into groups and had a great laugh and some epic food.
I saw rhinos, hippos and elephants up close – and Ashy got a bit closer to a cheetah than he was expecting to!
Training either side of the trip to safari has been tough – but good tough – if there is such a thing.
The conditioners don’t flog us but when we are in, we work hard.
We are all in good shape and the squad should benefit from few changes over the summer. If you look at all the most successful teams in the sport, they have all had good continuity and we are in that position now.
The new lads that have come in give us something new and I have been really impressed with the attitude of someone like Billy Vunipola who has got his head down and worked extremely hard.
He has seen how hard his brother Mako works in this environment and he has fitted in very well.
Like the rest of us, he is keen to get out there this weekend. We feel that we have learnt the lessons of last year. Let’s see if we can get off to a good start.