TOPSY OJO: PRE-SEASON IS NO FUN BUT SPORTING SUMMER WILL KEEP ME ENTERTAINED

Welcome to the first edition of my blog, it’s a new experience for me but hopefully one that readers will enjoy.

For those that don’t know, I have been at London Irish for nine years now, playing more than 150 times for the club and scoring over 50 tries. Over the course of this season I’ll be bringing you behind the scenes of everything that is London Irish and life in the Aviva Premiership. While rugby will be the main focus of this blog, I hope to cover a wide range of topics. Anything from diet, to hobbies, to post-rugby career plans (not for a little while at least!) Hopefully I’ll be able to give you guys an insight into the life of the professionals and let you in on a few secrets…With the amount of sport that’s been going on this summer it’s almost hard to believe that the rugby season isn’t too far around the corner. Most, if not all of the Aviva Premiership teams will be well into their pre-season programmes and as anyone will tell you, it’s definitely not a fun part of the campaign!This is where most of the base work is done; which basically means lots of weights, skills and plenty of running. With no game in sight for a few weeks you definitely have to get your head around things quickly. Luckily quite a few of us got a run out at the JP Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7’s tournament at the Stoop last Friday.

In its third year now, the tournament was a great way to assess just how things have been going so far. After a shaky start in the first game against Harlequins, we managed to rally for the second and third games against Wasps and Saracens to qualify for the finals on August 3 down at the Recreation Ground in Bath. Some silverware would be a great way to start the season and kick-start what is going to be an exciting new era for London Irish.

For now though it’s back to work at Sunbury as we build towards our training camp next week. This will be the hardest block of work before we start pre-season games in August, building up to the London Double Header at Twickenham on September 1. I can’t say I’m 100% looking forward to the early starts and long days but I guess it’s like anything – head down and get stuck in! I’ll just have to make sure I have plenty of entertainment to keep me occupied when we’re not training – no sweets though! (Try telling the forwards that).

I think that one big thing we do have to look forward to is the Olympic Games. If the standards live up to anything else we’ve seen so far sport-wise this summer then we are all in for a real treat. Spain were mesmeric in Euro 2012, the first team to win three successive tournaments and successfully defend the Euro’s, and Roger Federer was back to his sublime best at Wimbledon, unfortunately at the expense of Andy Murray, who I think gained new levels of respect in that match. Surely it can’t be long before he wins one himself.

I was fortunate enough to be at the British Grand Prix as well, luckily on the only dry day the track had (typical British weather) and saw Mark Webber pull off an outstanding win. I was dubious at first to how loud the cars were, but after lap five of 52 the earplugs were firmly in place!

The Open Golf Championship starts at Lytham St Annes and that will bring us finally to the Olympic Games. I’m a bit of an athletics fan and I can’t wait to see the action unfold.

All eyes will be on the British athletes at their home games, but being a winger and having speed as an essential part of my game means I will definitely be looking forward to the 100m. I think everyone is anticipating probably the most closely contested race between Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, whilst keeping a close eye on the progress of Dwain Chambers and Adam Gemili. If one of those two could make the final that would be amazing, no doubt they have the whole country and myself – a former Dartford Grammar pupil like Adam – cheering them on.

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back with regular updates right the way through as we build up to the start of the Aviva Premiership and beyond.

The best ways to keep in touch with everything London Irish is via Facebook, or follow the club on twitter @LiRFC. You can also follow me on twitter @topsy_ojo to see what all the boys get up to!