The hills are alive, with the sound of rugby

Well, we've arrived in Kandy, the mountainous village region of Sri Lanka where the second test match is to be held. Since I wrote to you last, we've been in Colombo playing a 2-day practice game in preparation for this test match. It was a good opportunity to get in some decent match practice after the disappointing loss in the first test match.

Most of the batsmen got some decent knocks with Gary, Neil, Daryll and Boeta all getting amongst the runs. On the bowling front it was pleasing to see Nanty on the park after a week's rest for his sore shin. He bowled as fast as ever and had the Sri Lankan Board guys hopping around all over the show, ducking and weaving his thunderbolts. Most of the guys think it's no coincidence that Tanya his girlfriend arrived that evening and this may have had something to do with his extra yard of pace.

In the next week, on the 5th of August to be exact, we're expecting another posse of wives and girlfriends to arrive and the guys are looking forward to this with much anticipation for a few different pretty faces in the touring squad.

The bus ride up to Kandy was again a terrifying experience and everytime you think the roads in SL can't get any worse something more surprises me. In fact I've come to the conclusion that if you can handle the roads in SL you can handle the roads anywhere in the world. However, the trip was all worth it once we arrived at our very scenic mountaintop hotel "Le Kandyan" which its wonderful panoramic view of Kandy down in the valley below.

We practiced yesterday afternoon at the Asigiriya Stadium and as per normal things were pretty shambolic with a clash of practice times for both teams and not the requested net facilities to practice with. However, once you've spent a couple of weeks in SL these things don't tend to phase you that much and the guys quickly settled into a very competitive game of touch rugby with much arguing and the odd not-too-subtle should charge or "slap" touch.

Jonty Rhodes, despite his advancing years when he turned 31 on the 27th of July, was once again the playmaker in my team. Even though we lost the game, Jo treats every warm-up game of touch as though it's a springbok test match. Maybe we should second him as an extra flyhalf for the Bokke in the Tri Nations tournament.

This second test match is expected to be a very tough one if the first test is anything to go by. Conditions here are not making it any easier and our inspection of the wicket yesterday confirmed that we can expect no favours from our Sri Lankan hosts. Nevertheless, the guys are still confident with high spirits and we intend giving a vastly improved performance to win this test to keep our hopes of winning the series alive.

This is David Terbrugge signing off from the mountaintops of Kandy.