Imperial rugby preseason kicked off on Monday 18th September, resulting in a rag-tag crew of motley looking seniors and fresh-faced freshers gathering at Ethos. Among the new faces were reliable fellas such as Amin, Michael, and Jacob, as well as a Lord Farquaad impersonator and a nervous young fresher called Will Aynsley (poor lad, he was practically shaking).

Summer was officially over, and it was time to begin excavating the long-buried rigs of ICURFC in preparation for Freshers’ Week and the promise of far-off ACC nights parading around the union as Spartans. Once gathered, the squad was informed that the first session would be a rigorous fitness test to see just how great our fall from grace had been over summer. Upon hearing these news, Lord Allingham of his father’s estate promptly paid off the Sport Imperial staff to feign a knee injury, and spent the rest of the training session loudly commentating as everyone else was put through their paces.

With fitness testing over, the next few days got underway as expected, the team gelling together over rugby and weights sessions. The new coaching setup, now joined by Martin’s brother-in-bicep Coach Lovejoy and led by flair-master Coach Will, was firing on all cylinders and we were beginning to look like a real squad again: Chopper was chopping (people and pints), Owen was sniping, Allingham was coaching, Toby was watching other people train, and Blackett was breaking all the promises he’d made in the run-up to his Sabb election; it was Imperial rugby as it should be. The first of our two preseason matches, against King’s, saw a tight fixture in which the new game system was used to great effect in the first quarter but ultimately dropped off as our fitness levels faltered. After a less successful second half we ended up with a 20-5 loss.

However, not to be put out by this, the next night’s annual Oxford social saw a full turnout and a great night on the town. One or two of the lucky Oxford gals even managed to bag themselves a long, steamy night of cuddling. Saucy. Apart from that, preseason finished successfully, a friendly against Brunel University took place, and more freshers than we could anticipate showed their faces. Unfortunately, Sylvia has yet to make an appearance (perhaps she heard about Brady’s antics and decided to steer clear), but apart from that we are ready to hit the ground running in the new season and look forward to seeing all of our new members soon!

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