Three weeks since the return of the Gallagher Premiership and the rugby world is now well versed in the ‘new matchday’ experience.
Players, coaches and stadium staff have had to get used to a new setting with new regulations and tighter restrictions around grounds up and down the country.
As part of our Behind the Scenes series looking at the ‘new matchday’, we’ve caught up with Leicester Tigers staff members to hear their insights and experiences so far.
Often one of the first faces on-site on matchdays, the job of the kit manager is synonymous with sports teams around the world at every level.
From washing and preparing kit, supporting retail and setting out equipment, Tigers kitman Clive Galloway enjoys the variety that comes with the job.
But the outbreak of Covid-19 has bought its own challenges within a role that naturally brings him into direct contact with players and coaches at the club’s Oval Park training ground.
“One of the main differences is that the changing room lay out must adhere to social distancing rules, alongside being adaptable for players to allow for more time than usual to prepare”, he explains.
“Players have also been responsible for washing their own training kit to minimalize contact as well as observing protocols in line with the government’s return to training.
Matchdays for Clive will also see him responsible for the sanitation of rugby equipment ahead of the warm-up and post-match.
“Usually when I’m setting up, you can hear the stadium coming alive as more and more people arrive. The noise, the stamping, the chatter around the stands are all something we all miss playing behind closed doors.
The job also has challenges on the road too, often having to accommodate ‘new’ changing rooms.
“When travelling away, each club has its own designated away dressing room, away from the home team, so having to adapt to a different environment and quickly set-up to help the team get prepared and in the zone has become even more important."