Jamie Ritchie believes lockdown may have put something extra into the legs of rugby pros

North east Fife Scotland international Jamie Ritchie says there are positives that can be taken from sports enforced lockdown over the past few months.
Jamie Ricthie celebrates with former Howe of Fife team mate George Horne at the 2019 World Cup. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)Jamie Ricthie celebrates with former Howe of Fife team mate George Horne at the 2019 World Cup. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Jamie Ricthie celebrates with former Howe of Fife team mate George Horne at the 2019 World Cup. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Competitive action had to be knocked on the head with seasons ended early across a variety of sports.

But there are green shoots of recovery, training and games have been allowed to resume and Ritchie’s Edinburgh side are now preparing for a PRO 14 series on August 22 and August 28 against Glasgow Warriors.

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The former Howe of Fife man, from Strathkinnes, is also likely to be part of Scotland’s Six Nation’s game with Wales at the end of October.

While we were all largely disappointed to lose out on sport towards the end of spring and start of summer, Ritchie says one positive was that it gave professionals a chance to heal and recover.

“It could potentially have added a few years on to the careers of some of the older boys,” said the back row.

“This period of time will have been the longest a lot of us will have had off.

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“I’ve been at Edinburgh six years now and it’s certainly the most time I’ve had off.

“Everyone came back pretty fresh.

“Having had three months off and then coming back into training, there was obviously going to be guys who pick up a few niggles.

“That’s the way our sport works.

“This period is about trying to build up as much robustness as we can because, when the season starts, we’re probably going to be at it for a wee while without a break.

“Everyone has come back in a pretty good place.

“Some boys have gained a few kilos and some have lost a few, but nothing too drastic either way.”

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Edinburgh host their Scottish rivals on August 22 at BT Murrayfield before the reverse fixture is played at the same venue on August 28.

It’s a welcome return to competitive rugby and the first couple of games of what will be a hectic period.

But Ritchie can’t wait to get his teeth into the games after spending some time while on lockdown looking back at what has been a remarkable past couple of years.

“Yeah, I’ve reflected a little bit,” he said.

“I actually watched back the Scotland-Japan game (in last year’s World Cup) for the first time, which was frustrating.

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“It was great to watch in the sense of it reminded me of the atmosphere on the night.

“But it’s been a whirlwind 18 months or so.

“I can’t believe it’s gone so quickly.

“There have been a lot of highs and lows and a lot of stuff has happened off the pitch as well.

“Lockdown has allowed me to take stock of a lot of things I probably took for granted, which now I’m extremely grateful for.

“It’s been beneficial to have some good family time.”

• Additional reporting courtesy of www.edinburghrugby.org

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