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Windsor RFC head coach Pattinson sees 'signs of life' for return of competitive rugby

Windsor RFC head coach Jack Pattinson says he’s pleased to see ‘signs of life’ for the return of competitive rugby and hopes to lead training sessions with players in the very near future.

A return to competitive clashes could be some months off yet, so Pattinson is keen not to call next month’s return to small group training ‘pre-season’.

But he’s excited by the prospect of getting some of the boys back down to the club so they can reconnect with each other and work on their conditioning, fitness and hand-eye coordination.

Tactics and technical training, and full contact rugby, will have to wait for a further relaxation of the government’s advice on social distancing.

“There are signs of life,” he said. “The RFU has put out information to say clubs can train in small groups of six, so five players and one coach. It’s exciting but I’m not labelling it as pre-season until we get more clarity on when we’re going to play games again. We might not play a game until January, so if we start telling the boys to come back for pre-season, and then it last five months, I don’t think we’ll have too many turning up.

“For me it’s just about getting the boys back together, socialising and interacting with each other again. That’s the priority.”

The club hopes to start welcoming players back in for group sessions from July 14 onwards. Other clubs, like Maidenhead and Marlow have been quicker off the blocks at bringing their senior players back in, but Pattinson says there’s no need to rush things because it’s going to be a while yet before players cross the whitewash for a competitive clash.

“We’ve done nothing so far,” he said.

“We’ve been really strict on it. I’ve noticed other clubs have been doing stuff but we’ve been taking it really slow and steady.

“We’re aiming for July 14 onwards.

“I’m not too fussed about starting rapidly because it’s going to be a while before we play matches. And I’m not sure we can call it training, because we won’t be able to do anything tactical or technical. It will be basic sports skills like balance, hand-eye coordination, movement, conditioning. The players will come in at different extremes. Some will have kept themselves really fit while others might not have been able to train as much. They will need time to build back into it. But it will be more about reconnecting with each other and the club over getting super fit.

“Things are changing rapidly. The plan is to start training with small groups of six but in a week’s time that could be relaxed to 10, so who knows what things will look like by July 14. But I can’t wait to get started again.”

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