Van Rooyen will not cash in on lockdown, instead it's time for serious introspection
JOHANNESBURG – Lions coach Cash van Rooyen is using his time in isolation to try and figure out why his team have struggled so much this Super Rugby season while he’s also looking to “grow” as a person during this difficult and uncertain period.
The coronavirus outbreak, which has rocked every segment of society, has brought sport around the world to a grinding halt.
The Lions were in New Zealand 10 days ago when they were told they had to fly back home to Joburg and do self-isolation for 14 days following Sanzaar’s decision to suspend Super Rugby.
The players and management members stayed home last week and are now into their second week of isolation.
Van Rooyen, whose Lions have won only one of six matches, said the time “off” would allow him to do a proper analysis of his team’s performances this year.
“If we were six-from-six the balance would shift. But we’re not there, and we really want to make it work, and that means we’ve got a lot of work to do,” said a forthright Van Rooyen, who is in his first year as head coach of the Lions.
“I’m spending between six and eight hours a day on rugby-related stuff. I’m busy with reports, assessments and analysis.”
Van Rooyen has stayed in touch with all his players and coaches via electronic means and he said they are doing as well as can be expected in the circumstances.
“The best way to stay safe is to adhere to the recommendations and we’re happy to do that. With things like GPS we’re at least able to track the players’ days and individual training sessions and right now it’s very important that the players stay healthy and sleep well, and generally look after themselves.
“Last week, our first back in the country after our return, was more about recovery and wellness; this week it’ll be a little different.”
All the Lions players have been given specific training programmes which focus on conditioning and gym work.
“None of us can go and work out or train in a public place or even at Emirates Airline Park, so everything has to be done at home, in isolation,” said Van Rooyen. “At some stage we could try and do group sessions, like having six or seven guys work out together and have the pods move from one gym exercise to another.
“We would clean up before and after every session, but this is something that can maybe be considered after a good few weeks.
“Nothing though can replicate an on-field training session or practice game, and that’s the tough part.”
Van Rooyen said at this stage everything was geared towards ensuring the players stayed fit and in shape so that when the go-ahead came to resume group activities they would all be ready.
On a personal note, the 37-year-old said the time “off” afforded him the opportunity to pursue a big interest of his self-development.
“I’ve got two little daughters in the house and with schools closed right now, this is good family time. Also, it’s an ideal opportunity for me to do some self-development.
“I’ll spend some time listening to podcasts and watching some YouTube videos about wellness and so on.”@jacq_west