Players can’t switch off during the summer

Hawick's Rory Hutton and co need to recharge batteries after a tough season.
Hawick's Rory Hutton and co need to recharge batteries after a tough season.

The rugby season is almost over, but for some the grind never stops. As the curtains finally drop on what was a long, difficult and, for the most part, testing 2016/17 campaign for the Greens at Jed-Forest on Saturday, two months of rest and recuperation await – but how much rest do the players really give themselves in preparation for the next season?

The rugby calendar stretches over six months – or 212 days – and during that period players play on average 51 games.

That includes 20 league games, two cup games, three or four Border League games (Borders teams), at least two friendlies, along with 10 King of the Sevens tournament with at a minimum of one or two games each event.

That means teams have an average of 4.1 ‘rest’ days between each game.

“The season is long and tough, its takes a lot out of you,” said Hawick club captain Bruce McNeil.

“Games come at you pretty much every week during the season and there is no real rest. You are basically training 24/7.

“I mean there isn’t even seven days between games anymore.

“Guys are barely able to do anything else other than train and play. It’s a hard grind,” added Hawick scrum-half Bruce Campbell.

Six to eight weeks away from a competitive rugby field now await.

Plenty of time to restore the broken and bruised bodies for another go-round of the rugby grind next season, but for some the training never stops.

“There are some guys who like to literally not touch a ball or do an ounce of fitness after the season and there are guys like me who don’t really stop training during the off-season,” continued McNeil.

“I am training three to four times a week to keep my body and mind right otherwise when pre-season rolls around it is not a fun experience.

“I would put pre-season training up there as one of the worst periods of the season.

“It is horrible, but it is less so if you come into it with a base-level of fitness that is pretty good. Otherwise you can run the risk of not being fully prepared for the new season.

“I really don’t stop either,” added Campbell.

“I probably should just totally take a big chunk of time off but I don’t. I hit the gym, mix it up with some football, golf and running. Really it’s no days off.”

Now that the season is almost finished rugby doesn’t end, it is only beginning. Away from the pitches, away from the crowds, away from everyone, players like McNeil, Campbell plus a host of other Teri stars will be silently working, pushing themselves to get ready for another trip through the rugby grind.