Sharks head coach Sean Everitt says there was a lot of excitement when his players returned to training on Monday.
Rugby teams around the country were allowed to resume group training after months of isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic that largely restricted any form of contact sport.
And, since the Vodacom Super Rugby’s premature ending in March, Everitt says his team are as committed as ever to regain the competitive edge with which they led the competition’s standings before it ended.
‘It’s been a long time – since the Stormers game way back in March. It seems like a lifetime ago that the players were here and we couldn’t be more pleased to see them again. They’ve returned in really good shape and conditioning tests have been performed and many of the players actually reached their personal bests in their running block tests which we’re very happy about,’ admitted Everitt.
‘This is an area all the players will be working on but that comes faster than running, which we’re already happy with, so there is a base we’re working from already.
‘They’re really excited to be back and see their mates again, although the entire squad can’t train together as one group. But they’ve had the opportunity to renew friendships which they’ve missed during this lockdown period.’
Adhering to strict and monitored health guidelines in the process, the Sharks players will train in small groups of five to limit the risk of infection as much as possible. They will be placing a clear focus on conditioning exercises, though, while regaining the required fitness levels.
Everitt says the group of players is eager to return to the playing field and quite excited to adjust to the new normal of training with the hopes of competing in the near future.
‘The players know what it’s going to take to return to where they were during Super Rugby, but they’re willing to put in the hard yards. They reaped great rewards from a really tough pre-season and this will be no different for them and we just hope our players remain healthy and free from Covid-19 infections so we can continue to train without disruption once again,’ he added.
‘I think the break we’ve had over the last few months has certainly made everyone realise that you can’t take anything for granted and this wonderful game of ours is certainly one that we treasure and feel very fortunate to be involved in.
‘In saying that, we look forward to the journey ahead and hope to be back on the playing field as soon as possible.’
Photo: The Sharks/Twitter/Howard Cleland