2017 Varsity Shield, presented by Steinhoff, FNB and STEERS. Monday 13th February 2017
FNB RHODES vs FNB CPUT at Rhodes Great Field, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.

Photo by: Stephen Penney/SASPA

Making the most of a bye – how players approach a bye week

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After four rounds of high intensity, extremely physical Varsity Shield rugby, the FNB Rhodes team have been enjoying a well-deserved break with their bye this week. Round Six is sure to bring more intense, competitive play, but the FNB Rhodes team will be prepared.

“We focused mainly on mental and physical recovery this week as the last four rounds took their toll on the players’ bodies,” said coach Qondakele Sompondo. FNB Rhodes struggled under the pressure of being newbies to the tournament, with most of their games being plagued by injuries. “Nine of my players (including the captain) didn’t participate in any physical activity last week because they were recovering,” Sompondo added.

As mentioned, mental recovery is just as important as physical recovery, and so the players are fortunate enough to have a sports psychologist have sessions with the team to “focus their minds on the task at hand and how to deal with adversity as the team is currently not doing well,” said Sompondo.

However, the players are ready and have spent their time recovering wisely. This is what some of the FNB Rhodes players have been doing to make the most out of their break:

“[A bye week] is a time to regroup, recuperate, and re-evaluate.” – Thabiso Sithole, first team wing.

“A bye week for me is time to do some extra training by myself on the field and gym in order to better my skills and physique. It’s also time I use for my recovery in order to be 100% fresh for the next game.” – Uzu Nyanda, first team hooker.

“It’s [a bye week] comprised of personal reflective sessions, staying positive and focusing on the next job.” – Chulu Jack, first team front-rower.

“It’s time where you can gym hard and not worry about being sore for the next game.” – Josh Parsons, first team lock.

“For us a bye week doesn’t mean it’s time to stop working. Throughout our bye week we trained and set goals to end the season off with two wins. On our day off I went out to the Belmong Golf Club and enjoyed a round of golf with good scenery and food.” – Ryan Horne, first team centre.

“For me, the way to deal with a bye week is to mentally switch off for a bit. Physically, we continued to work hard in our training sessions but mentally sometimes you need a break. Take a slight break from rugby, go and be social, do things you wouldn’t ordinarily have the time to do and just switch off for a bit.” – Jono Braans, first team Captain and flyhalf.

FNB Rhodes will take on FNB WSU on Monday the 13th of March at 18:30 at the Rhodes University Great Field.

By Gabi Bellairs-Lombard

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