Waratahs' Harrison keeping Super Rugby plight in perspective

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Will Harrison is itching to return to playing rugby but the Waratahs flyhalf quick to put his current situation in perspective.

All Australian Super Rugby players have been told to train away from their clubs for a fortnight with the season suspended for at least another month.

Players across the country have set up home gyms and begun speaking to coaches via regular video calls as they train in relative isolation.

Physio tables have been spotted in local parks for players requiring rehabilitation work as they work to observe social distancing requirements and keep their fitness up to scratch.

With no clear date when a competition will be back up and running, players face an foreign uncertainty when it comes to the rugby season at all levels.

For Harrison, the season break came just as he felt he was finding his groove in Super Rugby despite a lean start for the Waratahs but all of that is secondary in his mind as the coronavirus pandemic takes its grip on Australians.

"I'm complaining about not playing footy but there's people out there losing their job who have got to pay the mortgage and stuff," he said.

"It's annoying we can't play footy but I think you've got to put life in perspective."

Harrison doesn't have to look far to see the wide-ranging impact the growing coronavirus pandemic is having across the community.

His father, Mark, is the general manager of Randwick Rugby, one of the Shute Shield clubs awaiting the fate of the premier and grade competition this year.

His younger sister, Ella, is studying for her HSC and preparing to do assessments from home as her final year of schooling progresses.

While schools in NSW aren't closed, many schools have turned to remote and online learning options to ensure that students don't lose out.

"She's studying from home right now," Harrison said of his sister.

"She's got exams and stuff next week, mid-year exams.

"I'm pretty sure what they're doing is sending email of the exam and they've got to print it off, write out the exam and then send it back to the teacher in a 15 minute window, it's pretty hectic, pretty crazy but I guess everyone's in the same boat."

For Harrison, a two-week absence from the Waratahs training facilities means working out in a home gym, practising kicking at nearby Latham Oval in Coogee and video conferences with coaches on a regular basis.

"We've been pretty much told from the Waratahs that it's just active working remotely so we've got our programs to do every day and it's just ticking that off," he said.

"Then also this would be the time to focus on yourself, get a bit of study done and then also try and do hobbies like go surfing when I'm allowed to surf It's good in a way you get to work on yourself a bit as well as footy but obviously I do miss getting out on the field and being around the lads."

Harrison said the time training alone put the onus on players to ensure they did their work themselves, without having teammates around to encourage you.

"I think the big adjustment is it's all on yourself, you've got to be independent, self-motivated," he said.

"it's even hard for me. I'm pretty highly motivated with what I want to do and stuff but it is more challenging not having people around all the time kind of telling you what to do.

"Everything's changing by the hour.

"The Waratahs, (general manager- rugby Tim Rapp), our CEO Paul (Doorn) are really trying to keep us in the loop with everything but we understand it's pretty hard for them too.

"That's the best you can do, just train hard, pick up your skill work and stuff and when the time comes you're ready to go."