Chris Boyd believes Northampton Saints need to be ‘as flexible as a good breeze’ during this period of uncertainty – but the Club’s Director of Rugby is resolute in his desire to ensure that his side will be ready to hit the ground running when professional rugby returns.
The Gallagher Premiership remains on hiatus due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, with the league aiming to continue ‘as soon as it is safe to do so’.
Like the rest of the UK, the men in Black, Green and Gold are currently in lockdown at home, however Boyd insists that plenty is still going on behind the scenes to prepare the Club for any possible resumption scenario.
“If you don’t plan and organise, then when something concrete does get put in place, you’re behind the eight ball.”Chris Boyd
“We’ve had a series of guidelines and ‘what-ifs’, so we are spending a lot of time putting various plans into place, but we need to be really flexible because we know that’s highly likely to still change,” he said.
“That can play on our guys both physically and mentally, as you feel like you have a target to aim towards, but then that can shift again and again.
“We have to be as flexible as a good breeze; but if you don’t plan and organise, then when something concrete does get put in place, you’re behind the eight ball.
“We want to hit the ground running when return to play happens, so we’re trying to put ourselves in the best possible position to be able to do that.
“I’ve got to say, the players and the management deserve huge credit for how they have handled this situation.
“They have taken the guidance around social distancing and the need to stick to government regulations very seriously indeed, but there is also an incredible amount of effort going on behind the scenes to make sure that when rugby is ready to go, so are Northampton Saints.”
Before the postponement of the league’s final nine rounds, Saints sat fourth on the Premiership ladder and were preparing for another push towards the play-offs after finishing fourth in Boyd’s first season at the helm.
So, the Kiwi and his management group are leaving no stone unturned to put Northampton on track for a successful end to the season.
“There is an incredible amount of effort going on behind the scenes to make sure that when rugby is ready to go, so are Northampton Saints.”Chris Boyd
He added: “Technology has been an amazing help – everyone is connected on what returning to training and playing looks like.
“Our top priority is keeping everyone safe and taking into account those who have family members who might be at risk. There’s an awful lot going on behind the scenes.”
Away from rugby, Boyd has been keeping tabs on his family and friends back in his native New Zealand, and staying active in the Northamptonshire countryside.
He said: “Obviously this is a difficult situation, but we couldn’t be in a better part of the world. We’re out in a rural part of the county, a beautiful little spot, and the weather’s been unbelievably good.
“We can get out on our bikes or go for a good walk every afternoon, but other than that I’m spending about four or five hours a day sitting in front of my computer talking to people at the Club and making sure we’re all aligned, as there’s so much planning to be done for returning to play.
“Because of the time difference most mornings we speak to the family, and then in the evenings we catch up with other people at home, so I’m probably making four or five calls back to New Zealand every day.
“The kids are good and the family is good. New Zealand’s done really well and have locked down very tightly – hopefully they have nipped this in the bud.”