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Mulvihill gives insight on furloughed stars

First Team News | 1st May 2020

John Mulvihill has given a unique insight into how Cardiff Blues’ players and coaches are coping during the lockdown.

With the UK at the end of a sixth week of Government-led lockdown due to Covid-19 and all sport suspended, the majority of Cardiff Blues employees have been furloughed.

Only a small group of management and operational staff remain working from home and everyone previously at the Arms Park has adapted to a new way of life.

Mulvihill is keeping in weekly contact with his playing squad to ensure their physical and mental wellbeing and he has been impressed with the way they have handled the difficult situation.

He said: “The boys are furloughed at the moment, and a lot of our staff are as well, so the lines of communication are through myself, Gafyn Cooper our team manager and Dan Jones our head of medical. 

“Obviously we can’t ask them to do anything, so our role is just to make sure they are getting the back up and support they need. It is important that their medical and mental health and wellbeing is at the forefront of our minds.

“There’s a lot of trust in the group. Early on (before lockdown) the boys were getting together in little groups in their areas and training but for the last five or so weeks they have been flying their own flags. 

“It is funny to see on social media the boys training in their back yards and in their lounge rooms. 

“I spoke to Olly Robinson on the phone yesterday and he said it’s the freshest he’s been for two or three years. He is somebody who would put his head where you wouldn’t want to put your feet and he always struggles with niggles. 


“At a 10 metre distance the other day, I recognised the dog, an English bulldog that Will Boyde has here in Pontcanna. He was taking her for a walk but I didn’t recognise Will because it was the first time in six months I’ve seen him without a cut across his eyebrow, blood coming out of his nose or forehead. He consistently had some part of his face blooded!”

The coaching staff are also making the most of the extra time and have been taking part in numerous leadership, coaching and emotional intelligence webinars.

It has been an opportunity for coaches from different sports right around the world to share their knowledge, insight and best practice, and Mulvihill believes that will be silver-lining to this difficult period.

He continued: “All of our coaches are involved in development programmes. Myself and Richard Hodges are involved in an executive leaders programme so we get a chance to listen to listen to leaders from all types of different fields from the AFL, NFL, NRL, Yale, Harvard and Eton College. 

“Richie, Duane and Tom Smith have been involved in Google and the RAF. 

“It’s not something I have asked the to do but I’m really happy with how our coaches have taken this on. 

“Yeah it’s a bit of a pest that we can’t meet on field and get things moving but they are taking it as an opportunity to up skill themselves.”

However, there are only so many only so many online courses and seminars coaches can attend and home training sessions players can put in.

Focus has also turned to charitable causes with Nick Williams spearheading a collective, albeit voluntary, charge and numerous individuals taking on their own challenges.

Mulvihill added: “Last week Dan Jones ran a marathon on a treadmill to raise money for Cardiac Risk in the Young , Tom Smith is riding the 1,000 mile May challenge for Velindre and this weekend Dillon Lewis and one of his great international mates are riding 220 miles, the length of Wales on their watt-bikes. 

“If the weather is like today they’ll be in their back gardens, if it’s not they’ll be in the lounge or a shed somewhere. They are raising money for Tenovus Cancer Care. In small ways players and coaches are doing what they can for charities because we know with  the effect on business the trickledown affect on charities is massive.”