Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong is back on the family farm in Wexford during the ongoing lockdown and claims there is no place he’d rather be.
With the world currently stuck at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, players are having to get used to a new normal, while trying to stay in shape for when rugby does return.
But as Furlong explains in an interview with the Irish Times, there are far worse places to be than on the family farm in the village of Campile, Wexford – on Ireland’s south-east coast – with his mum and dad.
“I’m happy out,” says the prop. “You’ve got freedom and you can go out around the fields.
“We have an old farmhouse and I’d say we moved out of there when I was three or four. It kind of went into ruin, so I decided ‘look, what else am I at?’
“So me and the old fella [Furlong’s dad, James] are just cleaning it out, and we might make something of it. But even if we don’t – nothing ventured, nothing gained.
“We’re ripping out the galvanised roof. It’s been good fun. It’s a long time since I got to spend this much time at home.
“Life can be a lot simpler down here. There’s no panic or rush. It’s lovely to be home.”
Furlong had started all three of Ireland’s 2020 Guinness Six Nations matches – victories over Scotland and Wales, before a defeat to England at Twickenham – ahead of the Championship being suspended.
Despite lying fourth in the table, the destination of the title was in Ireland’s hand, as bonus-point wins over France and Italy would have guaranteed a fourth Championship victory in seven years.
With both Ireland’s fate and Leinster’s domestic and European hopes to be decided when rugby does return, Furlong is making sure he maintains fitness in addition to chipping in with the farming.
“I made a bit of a home gym,” he explains. “We cleaned out the old milking parlour one day and we made up a squat rack out of wood, just a few old planks we had lying around.
“I can train away there and run away, and you can keep on top of your rehab bits, and apart from that just fill in the day by mucking around the place.
“It’s that limbo between off-season and pre-season. There’s a very fine line between staying fit and being mentally sharp, but then also giving yourself that mental break from rugby that you need coming from a busy season to what could be a season and a half compressed into one season.”