There is now less than a month to go before we take on the LMAX Exchange Everest Rugby Challenge!

I can’t wait to team up with some incredible people as we attempt to set two World Records. First we’ll try to play the world’s highest rugby match and then highest tag rugby match. Working with children’s charity Wooden Spoon we aim to raise well over £200,000 in the process.

Alongside me as team captains are Shane Williams, Tamara Taylor and Lee Mears. Depending on how the Six Nations finishes, it could be a very chirpy Shane Williams, or not so much! We’ll see.. Whatever the result in the rugby, our ability to team-build is paramount. We’ve been spending as much time as possible with each other and all the team members. Knowing each other will make it much easier to help, motivate, nurture, manage, kick etc when we’re up the mountain. It’s a much-used phrase at the moment, but emotional intelligence is key.

Preparation and team-building for Everest

Preparations have been well underway for some time now. Physically I feel strong. I’ve just taken part in one leg of a cycle challenge in support of Scottish legend Doddie Weir. Doddie’s battling motor neurone disease and the whole experience with his team was incredible. Many thanks to everyone who made it possible.

In terms of the body, that’s the kind of physical preparation you can control. The toughest part of taking on something this monumental, though, is all the bits you can’t control. Such as altitude sickness and blisters, both of which can silently creep up on you. We’ve worked hard in an altitude chamber to get the body used to that and hopefully my walking boots are the perfect fit.

Other than that, I’m still doing a lot of visualisation, mentally rehearsing how I will feel and behave at altitude.

Only time will tell but Everest is now feeling very real, and very soon.