This weekend, Hull RUFC host Bournville in a re-arranged fixtured originally scheduled to be played before Christmas. But snow prevented the visitors from leaving Birmingham. Rather than waste time, the team used the free Saturday to improve their fitness under the watchful eye of conditioner Cal Donohoe. When it comes to dishing out credit for the team being in pole position, Donohoe is right up there. Without his fitness programmes, the players would not have the stamina to see games out. The unsung hero of the squad believes the players are reaping the rewards for all the hard work they have put in before and during the season.
“The players have earned the right to be top of the league,” Donohoe said.
“They earned that right way back in pre-season and continue to do so every Saturday.
“Their attitude this season is a mature one. They really do have a team spirit and work ethic for each other which is unrivaled in this league.
“Some are easier than others but that’s my challenge. All abilities and shapes and sizes and everyone needs something a little bit different.
“Some need to be held accountable in front of their team mates and others need a quiet word or a message in private to help them in the right direction. “The thought of letting their mates down is usually enough to spark them into action.
“Not performing because you’re not in condition is the worst reason to be underperforming.
“So the minimum we expect is for them to be in reasonable shape! The league standings offer proof they all do their bit.”
Donohoe’s work begins in the summer to get the players fit for the start of the season. Then, once the season begins, the focus of his training changes.
“In season, it’s about the rugby.
“It’s all about Saturdays and how we can be in the best shape for game day, the responsibility falls back on the players to make sure they do what they need individually.
“If the coaches think we need a top up then I get the time with the players to make sure we stay on top of their fitness to help them stay on top of the league.”