Crusaders Pre-Season Training at CSG

Anna Robertsone-News, Regional, South Island

The BNZ Crusaders Rugby Team have now completed a five-week in-house training at Christchurch School of Gymnastics (CSG). Inside the gym coaches Amanda Johanson, Terry Walker and Toby Levine worked alongside the teams own coaches to put the team through a programme integrating gymnastics with strength and wrestling work.

We were fortunate enough to have a quick chat with the Crusaders strength and conditioning coach Simon Thomas, who answered a couple of questions for us…

What gymnastic skills or movements do you think are relevant to rugby especially in your pre-season training?
“Getting players to be able to control their own body during movements. We do lots of body work against other players so to be able to teach them how to control their own body movements by engaging the correct muscles is an advantage. Plus, flexibility and mobility.”

What similarities do you see between gymnastics and rugby in the strength and conditioning area?
“Again the flexibility and mobility, utilising your own body strength to control what you’re doing, repetitive work, discipline in practice and attention to quality of movements. What could give a gymnast a poor score in a competition could potentially cause an injury in a game if there is lack of discipline in practice and learning good quality movements to get things right.”

What has been done in this gym that has challenged the players and put them out of their comfort zone?
“Beam work for sure! Being able to focus on a movement while listening to instructions that don’t relate to anything they have ever done before. Learning completely new skills on new equipment and from new people like working in a pit and learning somersaults. It’s been great for the men to learn to take instructions from others especially around body control so that they can keep themselves safe and injury free and also to learn that you can’t cheat movements.”

At the end of their training they got together with the kids from Camp Quality who have also been spending time at the club and had a group photo and then spent a bit of time with the kids having a chat.