A time to focus, and a time to prepare. I’m pretty much aware of every minute building up to kick-off, even from home.
For me the changing room is about finding comfort through routine. Knowing that you’ve prepared and gone through your individual rituals puts you in the necessary confident state of mind.
Everybody's emotions manifest in different ways pre game. Some shout and beat their chests a bit, others are trying to grab a quiet moment to find their own mental space.
In general the changing room is organised chaos before we go out.
Afterwards is a totally different story. It’s a strange feeling, the impermanence of victory or defeat. The room can be full of buzz, music and laughs, or despair, tears, anguish and questions. Could I have done more? Should we have done things differently? Did I make the wrong decisions?
But once you close the door on it all, and everybody’s gone back to their lives, your performance lives with you, and there’s no escaping that. As a rugby player, you are your performance and you owe it to yourself, let alone anybody else, to make it the best you’ve got and make sure it’s all you’ve got.