“We’re Being Given An Opportunity To Give A Lift” – The Importance Of Sport As Ireland Enters Level 5

Key role.

The news we were all dreading was confirmed late last night with Ireland entering level 5 for the next six weeks as the battle with coronavirus continues.

It’s a return to what we had to live through back in March in many respects with a few caveats. One key caveat is the fact that this time around – elite sport will be allowed to continue.

The last lockdown as we all know was extremely tough on a lot of us, with sport coming to a complete standstill. But this time around it will continue and for many of us will help get us through the next six weeks.

Sure there are a lot more things in the world right now that are more important for sport but from a mental health perspective, it will be a powerful resource for many of us in the coming weeks.

Sport allows us to escape, it gives us something to look forward to, it gives us hope and a sense of normality in many respects while we continue to adapt to the new way of life that has been presented to us.

Ireland centre Garry Ringrose spoke to the media yesterday as the men in green get set to return to action in the Six Nations this weekend against Italy and he’s well aware of the role sport can play for all of us over the next six weeks and beyond.

“We definitely spoke about it and we have an appreciation that people are going through incredibly tough times and we’re lucky to be able to come in and do our jobs together,” Ringrose said. 

“We’re being given an opportunity to give a lift to some people who might be going through a tough time.

“I know that when I’m watching sport, very little else matters so I know some of our supporters around the country get behind us through thick and thin, so we have an opportunity to provide a lift for some of them. There’s an opportunity for us to do everything we can to do that.”

In order for sport to continue the players have to adhere to strict guidelines, like the rest of us, to ensure it continues.

“We had to take on a few new procedures that we weren’t used to being in camp but after a day or two of that, it’s almost become habit and it’s what we need to do,” Ringrose added.

“We’re excited to be in together, a change of scenery and change of environment and obviously, there’s a lot at stake, so there’s no shortage of excitement. It’s been a really good first few days.

“There are a few different things, not necessarily from a rugby perspective but from our day-to-day protocols. The protocols that are being encouraged by the Government, we’re adhering to here so we have masks on pretty much all the time, handwashing, social distancing… so it’s all very quick-moving and you’re never beside one person for too long. There are all the social distancing measures in place as well.”

From a rugby point of view, Ringrose admitted that the Irish lads are looking to start evolving their game and begin to play a “brand that we all love” to see going forward.

“Getting past that, rugby-wise, it’s about trying to play a brand that we all love,” Ringrose said.

“That might look different at different times because it’s not necessarily about being the Harlem Globetrotters but it’s about playing to space when that’s the right thing to do but then if you’re coming up against a defence that’s set, it’s looking at where else the space is, maybe through a kick.

“It’s not necessarily one style of play we’re being encouraged to implement, but it’s the right thing at the right time to take advantage of whatever opportunities there are. Training has been tough but it’s up to us to recognise the right thing to do at the right times and then act upon that, so we obviously put ourselves under pressure and don’t get it right all the time.

“That’s why there is a lot of learning coming out of training that hopefully will make us at our best and ready to go come Saturday.”