Leicester Tiers back-rower Tommy Reffell admits the return to training has felt more like a pre-season programme than rugby training, but says the squad has embraced the “tough” conditioning in a bid to be prepared for a return to action.
“They aren’t rugby sessions, the focus is on getting running and lifting loads into us as we continue in Phase One"
Not yet two weeks into the Phase One programme, the 21-year-old has also been impressed with the early efforts of the group sine re-starting squad sessions just after a three month period of training alone.
“It feels like pre-season and the training has been tough, in the heat, but it is good to be back with the lads and not running or lifting alone, at home,” said Reffell.
“Everyone has thrown themselves into the sessions and you can see how much the group wants to get back to playing again after three months without a match.”
The flanker added that “some skills” and a “little bit of defence” have been part of the opening week’s programme and anticipates as time rolls on, more and more rugby will be injected into the routine.
“They aren’t rugby sessions, the focus is on getting running and lifting loads into us as we continue in Phase One,” he said.
“There have been some skills and a little bit of defence, just hitting tackle pads, but once we get into it more I am sure it will become more like rugby sessions again … we’ve got time, so we need to lay down the groundwork now.”
As part of the return to squad training, players must follow strict protocols in place to ensure social distancing measures and new hygiene rules are followed, which Reffell admits was “weird” at first but has quickly become the new norm thanks to the efforts of Tigers staff.
“It is a bit weird, only being able to go one way and not being allowed in rooms or having meetings and video sessions, but it all became pretty normal pretty quickly and it’s just what we have to do,” Reffell told LeicesterTigers.com after the eighth day of being back.
“The medical and S&C coaches have put in the work to make it a pretty smooth process, so it’s all pretty simple and easy to get used to when you’re moving around Oval Park.”
After making 17 appearances so far this season, to take his tally to 24 in the senior side since making the step up from the club’s academy programme two years ago, the 21-year-old knows all too well the challenges the newest ‘Cubs’ are facing since beginning their tenure in the top squad.
And, on early showings, admits he has been impressed with their efforts after being promoted from the Under-18 League winning squad, saying: “The boys are coming in after another successful Under-18s campaign and really knuckling down and getting on with it, which is good to see.”
“It’s important for us young guys to use this block to help develop physically.”