Written by Zack Wilson
Photo by Alain Soula
Toulouse Olympique are gearing up for a busy Easter programme, with conditioning coach Adam Innes working hard to make sure the players are in the best possible shape.
Over the Easter period, the French side will face four matches in 15 days, with three of those matches crammed into an eight-day spell.
Innes has his work cut out making sure that as many players as possible come through the demanding schedule intact and injury-free.
“We already started three weeks ago, and we will continue this week,” Innes said, referring to the squad’s preparations for Easter.
“We really push them in training because we know that in the 15 days following the Easter weekend, we will really lighten the workload.
“Four games in 15 days, with a match in England at the beginning and end, it’s huge for the squad.
“Our sport is demanding enough as it is! We will let the storm pass and then the rhythm will return to normal.”
For a conditioning coach like Innes, it is not the actual Easter schedule itself that causes the most concern, but the period a couple of weeks or so after Easter.
That is when the wear and tear the players experience over Easter catches up with them, and the injuries start to mount up.
“It is not this block of close matches that is the most concerning but a fortnight after,” Innes explained.
“When the accumulation of matches is felt, and you have to be very careful because it can be dangerous.
“However, this year, unlike the previous ones, our squad is bigger and we will be able to rotate.
“We will not need to ‘pull the rope’ too much as we have done in the past.”
At the weekend, Olympique enjoyed a hard 8-2 victory in Toulouse over Featherstone Rovers.
Recovering from a physically challenging match like that takes its toll on the players, and each member of the squad needs to be worked with on an individual basis by the conditioning staff at the club.
“If a player has not had a lot of game time since the beginning of the season, we can push him a bit more, while we are going to take care of those who have played a lot or who have small injuries,” Innes explained.
“What we do not want is that the player becomes inactive. The important thing is that he moves: light weight training, swimming, cycling, rowing or on the ground, and always in agreement with the physiotherapists and Bastien Costes (who is in charge of rehabilitation).”
Toulouse had no game this weekend due to the Challenge Cup. Innes believes that a weekend off will benefit the TO players.
“Having a weekend off before this big block can almost be a benefit which becomes a disadvantage, since the pace is not constant.
“But I think that in the long term, it’s beneficial. Already the calendar is very, if not too busy, this rest time is always good to take.”