Preparation key for Nottingham Rugby's Craig Hammond

Craig Hammond
New Zealander Hammond signed a new one-year contract in May

Nottingham Rugby captain Craig Hammond believes his side's extensive off-season preparation will stand them in good stead for their 2011/12 campaign.

The Green and Whites failed to make the play-off semi-final last season.

Hammond said: "After our last game, we had four weeks in the gym with Jo Brun, our trainer, which was interesting.

"We absolutely got thrashed, probably harder than we did all season. He told us that it was going to be beneficial for the start of the season."

Hammond, who signed a new one-year contract with the Green and Whites in May, added: "We're just in the gym doing a bit of running, just trying to get us ready for 1 July, when we meet for our first pre-season training.

"Last year we had quite a few weeks off in between but this year they've changed it up a bit.

"We've got a few old boys coming back and a few new signings so, talking to a lot of the boys, they're actually pretty excited about getting back into training.

"There's still a few players to come in over the next few weeks, which will add to our squad, but we're going to have a very good squad and have got a very good opportunity.

"We've got a lot of boys with the right attitude and the right ambition to push up and get in that top four and go from there."