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Player’s Blog – Joel Raikes

It was gutting to see last season finish so early, especially when we had hit some form with a good win away at Merthyr. At the time we all thought we would only have a few weeks without rugby, but six months on and there is still no sign of a return to training let alone playing.

I have tried to keep myself fit throughout the lockdown, I was lucky enough to have borrowed some gym equipment from work to bring home, and have made good use of that. Of course my training schedule has been slightly different without rugby – I invested in a road bike to keep myself busy, have been taking part in spin classes at the gym and have even tried some yoga.

The only positive thing to come out of all the downtime was the chance to spend quality time with my family. We have been going for long walks, finding tree swings and building dens for the twins and even making a tik-tok video of our activities.

I have also been lucky that my in-laws have a caravan down west Wales, allowing us to get away from it all, enjoy some nice weather and days on the beach with different scenery.

Its been six weeks now since I returned to work as a WRU hub officer and it was good to get a little normality back in my life. The pupils in school where I’m based are allowed to do basic rugby skills and it was good for me to get a little rugby fix after such a long time without.

With all the local restrictions being put in place there is still no sign of the rugby season getting any closer. The missus has loved having me home every Saturday but I think even she is now just about ready for rugby to return! Let’s hope it won’t be too long.

Joel Raikes