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Coronavirus: Saracens’ Woolstencroft enjoys family time in lockdown

PUBLISHED: 16:58 31 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:58 31 March 2020

Saracens' Tom Woolstencroft

Saracens' Tom Woolstencroft

PA Wire/PA Images

A strong Wi-Fi connection is a necessity for most during a national lockdown, but not Saracens hooker Tom Woolstencroft, who is using the time to catch up with family in Somerset.

As a result of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby season being suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, Woolstencroft and his colleagues are following strict guidelines to stay at home.

Despite the inconvenience, the 29-year-old believes there are some benefits to being away from the game, temporarily at least.

“It is having a big impact. Not playing and training with the team it has been frustrating,” he said.

“I have come back to my parents’ house because I felt we needed to be back with our families during this.

“There is a little bit more space and it is nice because we don’t often catch up like this as a family and whilst it is terrible what is going on that is my one silver lining at the minute is that I can spend time with them.

“It has given me time to reflect on my game certainly over the last few matches before we went into lockdown. More importantly, it is time to reset and rest.

“It makes you realise what is important, we love rugby and I love playing it but it is just nice to be with my family.”

In light of the time off, Woolstencroft says that he and Saracens are trying to be as ready as they physically can be ahead of a potential resumption to the campaign.

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“We are creatures of habit so what I have done is created my own schedule which is similar to what I would have been doing in the gym. I got my own stuff, which makes it a lot easier which makes it easier to get things done,” he added.

“I do not get up as early as I would if I was training – I won’t lie! I wake up around 8-8.30am, have breakfast then I am in the gym by 9ish, after I chill with the family. Three of my brothers are all home as well so I keep myself entertained with them.

“The club have done a good job. We get updated regularly on WhatsApp. They sent out strength and conditioning workouts for us all because we have different circumstances. Some boys have access to weights, some boys don’t so there is a variety of different bodyweight things you can do.”

While Woolstencroft is working out from home to maintain his fitness levels, he says the hardest part of the lockdown is not being able to physically socialise with friends.

And a stint in the countryside – featuring a poor broadband connection – means an online alternative hasn’t always been forthcoming.

He said: “For me, it is the lack of interaction with teammates which I have struggled with a bit and even though you are keeping in touch over WhatsApp you are missing them every day.

“A few of my friends outside of rugby have downloaded this Houseparty app to stay in touch but it is a struggle for me because where I am staying with my parents I don’t have good Wi-Fi, it is absolutely shocking.

“Even with Netflix, I have been struggling because the Wi-Fi is so bad.

“We have rewatched a few DVDs already and my brothers are slightly younger than me so we have been just passing time by playing cricket in the hallway.

“There have also been a lot of board games and charades.”

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