12:15PM, Wednesday 21 October 2020
Maidenhead RFC coach David Mobbs-Smith has been working hard to maintain his side’s physical and mental strength in anticipation of a return to competitive rugby in the New Year.
In September, the RFU announced grassroots rugby would not be permitted to restart until January 2021 with contact training also prohibited until the next stage of the return-to-rugby roadmap is given the green light.
As a way to keep themselves ‘smart and sharp’ leading up to the proposed start of the season, Maids’ men’s, women’s and youth sides have been competing in Ready4Rugby touch matches against other local clubs.
Governed by the RFU, these games have enabled the rugby community to get back to some sense of normality with two teams of up to 10 players able to engage in training and match activity.
“We’ve been playing in these tournaments most weekends and that’s been a great advantage to our overall fitness,” said Mobbs-Smith.
“We had London Scottish down at the weekend and it’s been a good way to play the game we love for the time being. It has at least created that feeling of normality when you’re down at the club.
“In what is a naturally gladiatorial sport, we need a competitive environment. But they (RFU) came up with a game that can be stretched across all age groups and all skillsets so it’s worked quite well.
“Of course it’s all done with COVID restrictions but we have been playing and training like this for months now.”
“Hopefully on the horizon there’s a return to full contact rugby for our senior squad,” added Mobbs-Smith.
“We’ve had to be inventive and bring in new games to do in training. But we’ve offered a huge variety to keep the players entertained.
“We’ve got to keep our sessions entertaining so the players believe there is something of value for them in there. That fuels the drive to come back to training on a Tuesday and Thursday.
“There are quite a few new players training with us too. So now we’re just really waiting for the season to start to announce them.”
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