Nic Gill



  • So there is a big team around our All Blacks, most of the kudos go to the man at the top, but you'd have to say that Gill is someone who seems to fly under the radar, yet he has a very direct input in to one of the key areas that makes this AB side so successful.

    Obviously we used to hear about Titch's brutal training regimes, but we dont hear (well I havent heard alot) alot about what exactly Gill does to get our guys to the top, and keep them there.

    Having the fittest team allows Hansen to implement a game plan that utilises this attribute to its fullest.

    We have been the fittest team around for a fair old while now, and now is no different, but what is different about what he does that others cant replicate?

    Am sure there have been plenty of people that have spent enough time in and around the ABs and other top players to get a bit of an insight into what he does given he works with more than just the ABs too.

    Or, is he 'just' another of the vital cogs in the well oiled AB machine?



  • BB appears to have remarkable fitness, still running at 100kmph in the final quarter.

    I think he's (Nic) one of the vital cogs. Mental toughness is something we have excelled at as well, largely due to McCaw leading the way in that regard. Our guys seem to be able to play through the pain in the lungs and legs in the final 10 and still make quality decisions.

    Whatever it is, fitness, mental or something else, the ABs are able to finish test matches with the same intensity that we start them - no other team can do that at present.



  • I think much of it is to do with the fact they're obviously doing their cardio regularly whereas some other teams look a bit obsessed with working on the beach muscles.

    In terms of my personal fitness habits I'm definitely one of the "other teams"



  • @No-Quarter said in Nic Gill:
    Mental toughness is something we have excelled at as well, largely due to McCaw leading the way in that regard.

    I think the, for a while, much maligned Gilbert Enoka has a lot to do with that.



  • I know from a diet point of view the all blacks are on a high fat moderate protein low-moderate carb diet. Went to a talk here with the aussie circket team doctor and a NZ lecturer who worked with Gill. High fat is great for a lot of things (decreasing inflamatory markers, aiding with recovery etc) some amazing stories of the aussie cricket team and some English premiership soccer teams changing to this protocol and fast bowlers and keepers on the verge of retirement due to weekly injections changing diets and playing for several more years pain free.. The main difference with the all blacks diet is slightly higher carbs to maintain size to handle the knocks and for effectiveness in the game etc. As you can expect weetbix and poweraid dont feature in that diet apart from promotionally on game days etc. I think him implementing that would have a huge effective on conditioning etc.



  • Yeah I'd love to know how many ABs actually chug PowerAde, I bet it's absolutely fuck all.

    For a laugh I might go and revisit the thread ( if it's still there ) of the ferals who's kids teeth fell out from too much of the stuff cos they saw Richie doing it in an ad and wanted to give little Metallica a head start in his quest to become an elite athlete.



  • blue Powerade is still great on a hangover though



  • I always preferred V's. Anyone remember Top Secret ? that shit was FUCKEN AWESOME especially in the 1.5 litre bottles. No wonder I had a a noticeable weight gain round the guts in the early 2000s.



  • @MN5 said in Nic Gill:

    Yeah I'd love to know how many ABs actually chug PowerAde, I bet it's absolutely fuck all.

    Very few. They're now sponsored by Garorade



  • @MN5 said in Nic Gill:

    I think much of it is to do with the fact they're obviously doing their cardio regularly whereas some other teams look a bit obsessed with working on the beach muscles.

    Watching the UK rugby there is a big difference in body shapes to our pro players. Our guys seem to aim for a blend of power and speed whereas the lot over here generally look as if they spend all day pushing tin and look 'muscle-bound'



  • @Crucial said in Nic Gill:

    @MN5 said in Nic Gill:

    I think much of it is to do with the fact they're obviously doing their cardio regularly whereas some other teams look a bit obsessed with working on the beach muscles.

    Watching the UK rugby there is a big difference in body shapes to our pro players. Our guys seem to aim for a blend of power and speed whereas the lot over here generally look as if they spend all day pushing tin and look 'muscle-bound'

    Agree and it shows. I played a season in canada and found it weird that a lot of the players perceived others in teams I played on as awesome because they were big and strong. Some quite fat and strong there was an understanding that big was good. Did an experiment one day in the off season got a group of us including 2 of the big strong guys to run 400m sprint then squat like 10x80kg and then a sled push with some weight on it just one round. Me and another guy who ended up being capped as loose forward for cana were fine (well as good as you could be). The 2 bigger boys stregnth all of a sudden got lost after a 400m sprint. The legs trembled under squats which were like 30% 1RM and it was a sled lean.
    Interesting thing I found there to was the tendancy to run straight at the player no stepping to a weak shoulder lack of linking and off loading game as big guys are meant to be big and run straight.... I see similar traits in the UK games I sometimes watch.



  • Phil Gifford: All Blacks trainer Nic Gill now has 30 Richie McCaws

    41

    Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw had a "big diesel engine". "He could just go all day at a reasonable pace. He ...
    PAUL CHILDS/ REUTERS

    Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw had a "big diesel engine". "He could just go all day at a reasonable pace. He wasn't fast, but he never slowed down." - team trainer Nic Gill.

    OPINION: Enthusiasm radiates from Nic Gill, the strength and conditioning coach for the All Blacks.

    Working with him recently on a chapter for a book on men's health it's easy to see why he can persuade All Blacks to train so hard Kieran Read sent a text to Gill during the week saying he was looking forward to the 11 hour 40 minute flight to Buenos Aires because it meant Read "could sleep".

    A coach with a similar compelling nature was the late Arthur Lydiard, who took Peter Snell and Murray Halberg to Olympic gold medals. It's a comparison that makes Gill deeply uncomfortable, given that he's part of a large management group with the All Blacks, not an individual coach, but having known Lydiard too, I swear it's apt.

    The All Blacks always have at least one support runner because their players are supremely fit.
    GETTY IMAGES

    The All Blacks always have at least one support runner because their players are supremely fit.

    Gill makes anything seem possible, even logical. There's an almost evangelical enthusiasm, whether he's talking about an office worker parking his car a few blocks away from his workplace to get in a morning walk, or taking the All Blacks to new levels of fitness.

    Another thing Gill has in common with Lydiard is not offering any alternative to hard work. Lydiard's guidelines included running 160km a week, a regime that reduced Snell to tears the first time he finished the 35km run through the rugged Waiatarua ranges that was a regular Sunday treat for Lydiard's athletes.

    When Gill took over the conditioning of the All Blacks eight years ago he had a perfect subject in captain Richie McCaw.

    "Richie was interesting because he just had a big diesel engine. He could just go all day at a reasonable pace. He wasn't fast, but he never slowed down. When and if he chooses to, he could be a very good long distance runner. He just has this big aerobic engine.

    "Most people will slow down under effort. He was almost unique in that he didn't. Why he stood out for all those years was because he could handle a whole lot of work. He loved to get out on the Port Hills or on his bike and smash himself up the hills. He loved that hard work."

    Now here's something that should make other international teams shiver just a little.

    The All Black workload is getting tougher every year. And they're thriving on it the way McCaw did.

    Five years ago, says Gill, if he prescribed the work the current side does McCaw could have handled it, but there might have been a group of five or six who would have been injured. Now there are none.

    Why? "Because of the academy systems, the Super Rugby systems, and the professionalism of the players," says Gill, "they're able to tolerate a lot more."

    Watch an All Black like Jerome Kaino closely now, and one of the most outstanding, if largely unremarked, features of his play, is how he bounces back so quickly from contact.

    The way he and his team-mates remain involved so much, thanks to their fitness levels, is the reason the All Blacks often seem to have extra men on the field. Overlaps become the norm when players are involved more than once in a movement.

    Two men in particular have been influential in shaping Gill's methods.

    One is rowing coach Dick Tonks. Just before he joined the All Black camp in 2008 Gill ran the off the water strength work for New Zealand rowing, so he saw Tonks' methods at close range.

    Even though Eric Murray and Hamish Bond excoriated Tonks in their recent book for a lack of man management, Murray told me just after they severed relations with Tonks in 2012 that, "I'd give him 11 out of 10 for his fitness training." As with Lydiard, the Tonks' mantra was to work hard, and then work much, much harder.

    Gill says that, like Tonks, the All Blacks, "don't try to over-complicate things, we just try to be bloody good at them. His philosophy was that if you can't handle the workload you're not going to be an Olympic champion."

    Another coach he admires is a Canadian ironman expert, Kristian Manietta. "He's very much of the opinion it's not about always changing what we do, but repetition," says Gill. "Getting really good at the basics allows us to work super hard, because we're familiar with what we're doing."

    In fitness and skill training, as distinct from tactical coaching, the All Blacks have occasionally been world leaders.

    In the 1960s the great Fred Allen raised the fitness bar with sessions that included "arse knockers", where the players would run the length of the field, starting at a jog, then gradually speeding up until they sprinted the last quarter. "He did them," said the late All Black Snow White, "until you were ready to fall over."

    In the 1980s Alex Wyllie brought a Scottish born former football player, Jim Blair, into the rugby fold, and Blair introduced grids, where players criss-crossed at high speed passing a ball, to the Canterbury, then Auckland, then All Black teams. The details have changed, but handling under pressure remains part of All Black training today.

    The success of the mix of All Black training in 2016 supports recent criticism from inside English rugby that an over emphasis there on weight training has made England's players bigger and stronger, but not automatically better.

    Specifically, the week leading into a test for the All Blacks now will be a mixture of five hours on rugby field, largely at aerobic level (when the body isn't pushed so hard players are gasping for air), 30 or 40 minutes of anaerobic training (working at such speed the body goes into oxygen debt), 90 minutes to two hours of flexibility and mobility work, and four hours of strength training.

    After each team session every players spends 20 minutes on individual skills. In other words, about 70 per cent of the training doesn't include weights.

    Gill is absolutely right when he points out he's only one man in a large, smoothly functioning, machine.

    But all great teams are the result of a myriad of outstanding individual parts. There can surely be no doubt that one area giving the current side an edge are the systems Gill has developed since 2008.

    • Sunday Star Times


  • @taniwharugby said in Nic Gill:

    Phil Gifford: All Blacks trainer Nic Gill now has 30 Richie McCaws

    41

    Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw had a "big diesel engine". "He could just go all day at a reasonable pace. He ...
    PAUL CHILDS/ REUTERS

    Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw had a "big diesel engine". "He could just go all day at a reasonable pace. He wasn't fast, but he never slowed down." - team trainer Nic Gill.

    OPINION: Enthusiasm radiates from Nic Gill, the strength and conditioning coach for the All Blacks.

    Working with him recently on a chapter for a book on men's health it's easy to see why he can persuade All Blacks to train so hard Kieran Read sent a text to Gill during the week saying he was looking forward to the 11 hour 40 minute flight to Buenos Aires because it meant Read "could sleep".

    A coach with a similar compelling nature was the late Arthur Lydiard, who took Peter Snell and Murray Halberg to Olympic gold medals. It's a comparison that makes Gill deeply uncomfortable, given that he's part of a large management group with the All Blacks, not an individual coach, but having known Lydiard too, I swear it's apt.

    The All Blacks always have at least one support runner because their players are supremely fit.
    GETTY IMAGES

    The All Blacks always have at least one support runner because their players are supremely fit.

    Gill makes anything seem possible, even logical. There's an almost evangelical enthusiasm, whether he's talking about an office worker parking his car a few blocks away from his workplace to get in a morning walk, or taking the All Blacks to new levels of fitness.

    Another thing Gill has in common with Lydiard is not offering any alternative to hard work. Lydiard's guidelines included running 160km a week, a regime that reduced Snell to tears the first time he finished the 35km run through the rugged Waiatarua ranges that was a regular Sunday treat for Lydiard's athletes.

    When Gill took over the conditioning of the All Blacks eight years ago he had a perfect subject in captain Richie McCaw.

    "Richie was interesting because he just had a big diesel engine. He could just go all day at a reasonable pace. He wasn't fast, but he never slowed down. When and if he chooses to, he could be a very good long distance runner. He just has this big aerobic engine.

    "Most people will slow down under effort. He was almost unique in that he didn't. Why he stood out for all those years was because he could handle a whole lot of work. He loved to get out on the Port Hills or on his bike and smash himself up the hills. He loved that hard work."

    Now here's something that should make other international teams shiver just a little.

    The All Black workload is getting tougher every year. And they're thriving on it the way McCaw did.

    Five years ago, says Gill, if he prescribed the work the current side does McCaw could have handled it, but there might have been a group of five or six who would have been injured. Now there are none.

    Why? "Because of the academy systems, the Super Rugby systems, and the professionalism of the players," says Gill, "they're able to tolerate a lot more."

    Watch an All Black like Jerome Kaino closely now, and one of the most outstanding, if largely unremarked, features of his play, is how he bounces back so quickly from contact.

    The way he and his team-mates remain involved so much, thanks to their fitness levels, is the reason the All Blacks often seem to have extra men on the field. Overlaps become the norm when players are involved more than once in a movement.

    Two men in particular have been influential in shaping Gill's methods.

    One is rowing coach Dick Tonks. Just before he joined the All Black camp in 2008 Gill ran the off the water strength work for New Zealand rowing, so he saw Tonks' methods at close range.

    Even though Eric Murray and Hamish Bond excoriated Tonks in their recent book for a lack of man management, Murray told me just after they severed relations with Tonks in 2012 that, "I'd give him 11 out of 10 for his fitness training." As with Lydiard, the Tonks' mantra was to work hard, and then work much, much harder.

    Gill says that, like Tonks, the All Blacks, "don't try to over-complicate things, we just try to be bloody good at them. His philosophy was that if you can't handle the workload you're not going to be an Olympic champion."

    Another coach he admires is a Canadian ironman expert, Kristian Manietta. "He's very much of the opinion it's not about always changing what we do, but repetition," says Gill. "Getting really good at the basics allows us to work super hard, because we're familiar with what we're doing."

    In fitness and skill training, as distinct from tactical coaching, the All Blacks have occasionally been world leaders.

    In the 1960s the great Fred Allen raised the fitness bar with sessions that included "arse knockers", where the players would run the length of the field, starting at a jog, then gradually speeding up until they sprinted the last quarter. "He did them," said the late All Black Snow White, "until you were ready to fall over."

    In the 1980s Alex Wyllie brought a Scottish born former football player, Jim Blair, into the rugby fold, and Blair introduced grids, where players criss-crossed at high speed passing a ball, to the Canterbury, then Auckland, then All Black teams. The details have changed, but handling under pressure remains part of All Black training today.

    The success of the mix of All Black training in 2016 supports recent criticism from inside English rugby that an over emphasis there on weight training has made England's players bigger and stronger, but not automatically better.

    Specifically, the week leading into a test for the All Blacks now will be a mixture of five hours on rugby field, largely at aerobic level (when the body isn't pushed so hard players are gasping for air), 30 or 40 minutes of anaerobic training (working at such speed the body goes into oxygen debt), 90 minutes to two hours of flexibility and mobility work, and four hours of strength training.

    After each team session every players spends 20 minutes on individual skills. In other words, about 70 per cent of the training doesn't include weights.

    Gill is absolutely right when he points out he's only one man in a large, smoothly functioning, machine.

    But all great teams are the result of a myriad of outstanding individual parts. There can surely be no doubt that one area giving the current side an edge are the systems Gill has developed since 2008.

    • Sunday Star Times

    I'm glad Phil managed to put a Canterbury spin on things by including multiple references to McCaw.

    Bit of a dumb comparison though as I'm sure he could smash pretty much the whole team in long distance running.