RGC have had an enforced break between games in January and February, which is unusual but it's a chance for the coaching staff to work together to take full advantage of the non-rugby playing training.
After defeating Llanelli on Saturday 18th January, the next game isn't until Saturday 15th Feb but these free weeks are being fully used both on the pitch and in the gym
Coach Josh Leach highlights some positives and negatives to this period for the squad
You can look at it both ways, with advantages including mentally – allowing players some time to switch off, and a week to reboot and refresh. It is also an opportunity to get any bumps and niggles a chance to recover which again can make a huge difference with the games that await us.
During the season it is always game to game, and you are in that moment of playing then preparing, and that pattern continues week in week out. So this period allows us to focus on certain areas where we need to be better without the distraction of playing games.
The disadvantages include having a long time between games, and risk of returning to the pitch slightly off the game pace. It can be difficult to replicate that game intensity, so we will look to train 15 v 15 to try and get the sharpness into training, and we should be fresher heading into the last 8 games.
We will also have a loaded back end to the season which will include several away games, so making sure we get the balance right with the players at this stage of the season will be crucial.
One of those advantages means physio Oran Elphinstone Davis can work with the players on certain recovery aspects
When we are in the thick of the season and game to game it is about damage limitation for want of a better phrase.
Players will pick up bumps and knocks but they are manageable and don't become worse.
But with these few weeks, we can take players out of training if needed, and focus on working with them around those injuries no matter how small they are.
Gym time is also enhanced as S&C Coach Gaz Whittaker explains
With the squad have no competitive fixture until the 15th of Feb it’s an ideal opportunity to undertake a small 3-week block where we can develop the physical qualities of the players.
This is rare in any season as normally it’s a difficult balancing act between pushing the players but making sure they are recovered to perform on a Saturday afternoon.
As we don’t need to worry about the games the intensity especially of the weights session will increase and we have added an extra conditioning session on Monday which would normally be a pool recovery session.
Each player will be working towards there special goals (speed, strength, or size) which they set before Christmas.
We have a very young squad so it’s vital we take the opportunity to develop these physical characteristics that will hopefully transfer on the pitch in the next coming weeks, months and years down the line.
The one thing that is clear from both a coaching and players perspective, no rugby on a Saturday does not mean the hard work doesn't continue during the week, and that intensity and focus remain.