New Zealand Kiwis players can’t say enough about the measures taken to ensure they arrived in Denver in the best shape possible for Saturday’s historic Test against England at Mile High Stadium.
Little more than two hours after settling into their accommodation in downtown Denver, new Head Coach Michael Maguire, team doctor Greg Macleod and Penrith Panthers utility Dallin Watene-Zelezniak all said the team’s travel strategy had worked well.
Watene-Zelezniak said the players had been totally impressed with the measures put in place.
“The doctor gave us times that we needed to sleep, times we needed to eat, the water we needed to drink, and all the boxes have been ticked,” he said.
“It’s actually been really cool to learn about how to prepare for games like this … I feel that we’ve been treated like kings.”
Travelling in business class on United Airlines, the players were in the air for close to 17 hours as they flew more than 13,500 kilometres.
Macleod was pleased with the players’ condition.
“I feel we’ve arrived ready considering how far we’ve come and what we’ve had to do … we’re pretty happy,” he said.
“There was a lot of talk around this trip and the potential risks and the player welfare issues … so the planning for this trip started well before we arrived.”
Massage was on the menu post-flight tonight and the players will have more massage sessions this week to optimise their preparation for the Test. The players also had a photo shoot – including a team photo – soon after arriving.
For new coach Michael Maguire tomorrow (Tuesday in Denver) means real business at last as he guides the Kiwis in a field session for the first time. There’ll be another field session on Wednesday and a final run on Friday after a day off on Thursday. There’ll also be strength work tomorrow and on Wednesday.
Outside their training schedule, the Kiwis are set to see the Colorado Rockies take on the New York Mets in Major League Baseball on Wednesday evening.