The rugby season has been massively interrupted due to the on-going pandemic but certain levels that have been classified as ‘Elite’ by the NI Executive have been able to continue training throughout lockdown.
Two of our 1st XV players, Captain and Head Boy Callum Smyton and Stuart Brown, are included in this ‘Elite’ category as they have been training with the Ulster Sub-Academy in over the Christmas holidays and throughout January. Below is message from Callum as to what that entails…
“At the minute we are training 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) for about 2 and a half hours per day. We are training within the sub-academy group but also alongside the academy players and national training squad players. With everything that has been going on lately it has been really good to be able to get out, clear the head and focus on rugby.
Training is a bit strange, it is very different to normal circumstances. At the start of every session, we have to fill out a health declaration form to ensure we have no symptoms of COVID and we get our temperature checked before each session begins too. All equipment that is used such as tackle bags, balls, bibs etc. must be cleaned down and sanitised.
Around 30 boys train each day and we usually split into 2 teams and then play a touch/grab match. From this we try get into our pattern of play and run through team moves. Being a forward, I also take part in lineout sessions and we practice these constantly. We focus mainly on the getting the lift and jump basics right before we add in all other movements.
We also have a chance to use the gym for an hour at each session too. This is really beneficial since public gyms are currently closed, it’s nice to be able to keep building on strength. A maximum of 8 people are allowed to use the gym at one time as this ensures that social distancing can be adhered too.
Overall, it has been a great experience so far. The training is of a really high standard and every session is both challenging and productive. It is great that Stuart is training with me and shows that regardless of what school you come from, if you work hard, you will get recognised.”