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Lockdown Blog – Rhydian Jenkins

During these difficult times, I think I  speak on behalf of many people in saying that we have been faced with big challenges over the past few weeks, and who knows what is to come. From a personal point, this is the first time where a rugby season has been cut short – but of course during this crisis, the health and safety of people is paramount, something that cannot be risked.

As one of the new players in the squad, my first season with Ponty has been an enjoyable one both on and off the field. I have loved playing at Sardis and have gained numerous friendships with fellow players, have learnt off key senior players and coaches within the squad, and not forgetting the fantastic support from our loyal supporters at home and away games. One of my fondest moments this year without a doubt was the victory over Cardiff at a packed Sardis Road during the Christmas period, the atmosphere was one I haven’t experienced in a long time!

At the minute, us as players (like everybody else) are unsure when any sort of rugby will begin again, and that’s just training as a squad, let alone playing against other teams in the league. After speaking daily with a number of boys over the past weeks, I know that we’re all cracking on with our own individual training, trying to keep fit whether that’s with weights, running or cycling. Fortunately, I have some equipment back home here in Maesteg and Nathan our conditioning coach has also provided me with a programme, so I’m just ticking over with that the best I can, and I’m sure other players are doing the same.

Outside of rugby, I’m sure many have found out by now that I am a classical singer and have been singing from a young age. I am currently studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. Although like with rugby, the current crisis has put my studies on hold at the moment. Everything now is done online, with vocal coaching done over Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams for everyone at the college. As well as my college studies, in October I was fortunate to have won the 2019 Urdd Bryn Terfel Scholarship and was originally meant to perform at the UK Ambassador House in Paris and also in Tokyo and Kitakyushu in Japan in March as part of the prize. I was also meant to perform out in Calgary and Banff in Canada during June, but due to the current pandemic, it was sensible to postpone these until hopefully next year when it’s a lot safer. However on a positive note, I have most recently been accepted on a two year Masters course studying Opera Performance at the college, which is meant to begin in September – so at least there is one positive during this lockdown!

During any free time I have from my college timetable, I am a Welsh supply teacher in a primary school after completing my PGCE course last year. But like all else at  present, that too is on hold until everything is safer for all staff and pupils. I always try and go into school to teach whenever I have can, and the staff has been great in supporting and understanding where I’m at with my studies at the college.

It’s a bit difficult at the moment to plan ahead with all the uncertainty around the country, but the most important thing is to follow the guidelines set out, and to stay safe with our families at home, like I am here in Maesteg. From my perspective, I will be continuing with the training regime that I’ve been given, as well as my college studies along with a few other exciting things that I’ve got set in the pipeline.

I hope that all players, coaches, staff and supporters and their families continue to stay safe and healthy  at home, and to remain positive knowing that we’re all getting through this crisis together.

Edrych ymlaen i weld chi gyd nôl ar Heol Sardis yn y dyfodol agos – gobeithio fydd hynny cyn bo hir!

Rhydian Jenkins