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‘Covid-19 gave our battlers a break!’ says Highland head coach

By Alasdair Fraser

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HIGHLAND head coach Dave Carson is predicting many of his squad will return for pre-season training in the shape of their lives.

Rugby..Highland v Watsonians..Seamus Ross in action..Picture: Gary Anthony..
Rugby..Highland v Watsonians..Seamus Ross in action..Picture: Gary Anthony..

The Canal Park club has been starved of competitive action since the first lockdown began 15 months ago.

The National One campaign was terminated in mid-March last year with Biggar hurtling towards the title, but Highland – in their first season at that level – still challenging for promotion behind Heriot’s.

The team trained from September last year through to the New Year and resurrected socially-distanced sessions in the spring.

But by the time their first fixture kicks off at home to Ayr on September 4 this year, the players will have endured an 18-month competitive absence.

Many, though, have used the time wisely.

Carson would never view the pandemic as any kind of blessing in disguise, but there has been one positive.

“We’ve had seven seasons where it has been pretty full-on relentlessly for the players, winning promotions and reaching cup finals,” he explained. “Every year, we were going at it until late April, early May every season, with only six weeks off during the summer.

“For our big hitters and big carriers, it has probably done them the world of good to take a step back and a break. Their bodies have totally recovered and some of the guys are going to come back in fantastic shape.

“I’ve seen what they have been doing, running-wise and in strength and conditioning, and it has been absolutely phenomenal. Although we’ve lost a bit of momentum now, every club is going to be in the same boat.

“It has been a heavy few years and I think the boys will see the benefits. They’ve taken the rest and then they’ve really started to work hard themselves, which has been fantastic.”

All of Highland’s squads return for pre-season training on Thursday next week.

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