Jaike Carter works on UR7s projects around the world in South Africa and UAE but this week he is on international duty with Spain. He gives us some insight into how he got to the qualifier
Road to hong kong.
My road to hong kong started in the summer of 2016 throughout the European series. I was called up for two of the legs (Exeter and Gdansk).
Coming back from a year of 'enjoying life' in Singapore and not thinking I would play international rugby again, I was weighing in at 106 kilograms. The extra 13kg of 'muscle' was great for the 15s game, but carrying that around the sevens field was a struggle to say the least. Nevertheless, with the team preparing for Rio, the talent and ambition within the team enabled us to qualify for the Hong Kong World Sevens play offs 2017 this weekend in Hong Kong.
Following the summer of 2016 i realised i needed to get myself back to fighting weight if i were to continue with any form of rugby 7s, whether it be invitational or international.
My new job took me to Cape Town where i lived for 3 months with Tom Burwell (CEO UR7s). I've never been one to really focus on my nutrition, simply because I've always kept a decent body composition and always felt energised (plus i love my food).
Living in Cape Town and sticking to the strict diet which Tom adheres to, was a game changer. In the space of 3 months, i managed to drop down to 95kg. Just in time for Dubai 7s with UR7s Wanderers.
On the back of this performance at Dubai 7s and upon seeing Pablo Feijoo and Facundo Lavino (the coach and assistant coach of Spain respectively) at the tournament, I was asked to be part of a wider squad for the Hong Kong play offs.
Having recently moved to Dubai at the time and starting work on a new project, i was unsure with how much time i would have to train and my availability of the pre tournaments. However, the company i am working for - the Athlete Development Institute, along with the support of UR7s were more than happy to support me throughout this time and free me for any sevens duties.
This 2 month period of getting myself into the fighting fit that i wanted to reach, was helped along the way by Marcus Smith @ Innerfight and his training programme, which which was strength and met-con related; putting me into 'dark holes', whilst competing against others at the same time. Somewhat similar to the sensations felt during the minutes endured on a sevens pitch.
Last month i returned for a pre tournament, hosted by Portugal. I was pleased to see the amount of youth talent which Spain is coming through the ranks and it reassured me that the next generation will continue the legacy that the current generation of players have built; world sevens series status 2012/13 & 2013/14, Sevens World Cup 2013, Rio Olympics 2016, and consistently being a threat for top 3 in Europe.
Having had minimal sevens game time in the past year, i found myself fighting for a place, due the the vast amount of competition that there is, from the youth coming through and the experienced players who represented spain in the Rio Olympics 2016. This experience and unity which the olympic boys have, is something which i have been able to integrate into quite well, simply from playing with them all throughout my time on the series and the European tournaments. However, it is this unity and this camaraderie which is going to get us to the final stages of the qualification tournament.
With up and coming teams, like Germany, who have invested 8million euros into rugby this year, Italy who are going full time, Ireland who are evermore stronger and the likes of Georgia who are investing more time and money into rugby 7s. This year has to be the year for Spain. Due to the continual challenge of classifying for the hong kong play offs - as a result of many more strong teams in Europe. Also due to many of the experienced players in the team moving on to pursue their careers in other ways next year.