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John Drake

Daniels happy with player fitness

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Crusaders strength and conditioning coach Adam Daniels says that the players are in good shape heading into the 2014 Championship season.
 Daniels’ work with the squad has received a lot of praise, as it was the fitness levels that set Crusaders aside from the rest in a number of games in 2013.
And, according to Daniels, the squad has improved on their fitness ahead of the new season.
He said: “There’s been a massive improvement. We first noticed it on the first day of testing when the lads came across a lot fitter than the previous season.
“The body tests and body composition photos, taken just after Christmas, show that there’s a very noticeable difference.”
With the step up a division, Crusaders are now training more often during the week, but Daniels says the approach hasn’t changed much.
He said: “Why changed something when it isn’t broken? We’ve got our philosophy in place and that will stay the same.
“The training’s pretty much the same but the load has changed. We’re training more now.
“We try to vary the training up with the Lions Den, hill runs on a Sunday morning sometime and then we do some conditioning at Widnes, as well as using the iPitch there.”
Life is set to be a whole lot tougher for Crusaders in the Championship – but Daniels believes that the squad will cope with the demands.
He said: “Physically we should be able to more than match the other sides in the Championship.
“We knew that we’d be coming up against better players so my aim was for the lads to increase their body weight, with the help of Optimus Protein, but, at the same time, keep a healthy diet so that the lads are still agile.
“And, fitness wise, if last year is anything to go off then I expect us to finish games strongly against any club this year.
“Some of the new lads that have joined us have said that the training and conditioning isn’t too different to what they’ve been used to in a full-time environment at their old clubs, so that’s a good sign.”

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Our lads looked the real deal in the pre-season games. If Clive Griffiths has 30 fit players he's going to have a selection headache

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