Havant RFC head coach blown away by ‘phenomenal’ training numbers after lockdown restrictions were lifted

Havant RFC head coach Will Knight has been blown away by the 'phenomenal' numbers attending training since lockdown restrictions were eased.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 2:24 pm
Havant RFC head coach Will Knight, right. Picture: Neil Marshall

The men's senior section have been practicing on a bi-weekly basis after government coronavirus guidelines were relaxed at the end of last month.

Knight revealed upwards of 45 players have been present at every session, with some new faces included following the prolonged non-elite rugby shutdown.

Havant are gradually pushing forward with preparations and have three first team friendlies scheduled for May - home and away against Eastleigh and a one-off meeting with Cobham.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Those run-outs will represent the first fixture of any kind for the club's men's section players since the first lockdown more than a year ago.

And after such a hard period for rugby at grassroots level, Knight - whose squad won the London 1 South title in 2019/20 - is delighted the future appears brighter.

He said: 'We’ve had phenomenal numbers, we’ve had 45-plus in every session.

‘New players are joining who have decided they want to do something after being locked down for a year, so that’s been positive.

‘We haven’t lost anybody so we’re pretty positive about where we are at the moment.

‘The main focus for me and the coaches is getting players re-engaged with the rugby club, training and with rugby.

‘We’ll have a few games in May then we’ll take a break before we start, hopefully - fingers crossed - a proper season.

‘We’re in as positive a position as we could be at this stage and we’ll get a few games under our belt under the conditioned game in May.

‘We’ll then be returning with a vengeance in July ready to go for next season.'

Tackling was reintroduced at training for the first time this week while there are plans for some intra-club games under the adapted current rules prior to the May friendlies.

In line with the RFU’s return to rugby roadmap, those will be played without scrums or mauls.

But Knight is pleased his players at least have some friendlies to look forward to before heading into a brief summer break.

He said: ‘We promised the lads when we came back at the end of this season that we would not be pounding them up and down the field doing fitness.

‘We promised them that it would be all ball in hand training and it has been.

‘You can make that pretty intense so you can get the conditioning work into the legs.

'We did our first little bit of contact in terms of tackling this week so we’ll build that over the next couple of weeks.

‘It’s important that we draw a line at the end of May, take a break in June, and the boys will come back raring to go in July.

‘There’s a lot going on at the moment in terms of the club getting back on its feet and getting ready to be able to welcome people into the clubhouse again - that’s the one bit we haven’t got.'