All in the routine for McDowall

All in the routine for McDowall

“When you go from training every day with the squad to suddenly not having that routine or schedule, it can be quite tricky and it’s easy to drift away.”

Stafford McDowall’s observation will be one to which all elite team sports athletes will currently be relating to. The suspension of the Guinness PRO14 due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation has seen training regimes for sportspeople worldwide adapted to suit the Stay Home guidance.

Yet the centre is taking it all in his stride, with a helpful housemate on hand to alleviate any cabin fever.

“It’s been a bit easier, living with George [Thornton],” admitted McDowall.

“We’re both trying to stay fit and stay busy. We were quite lucky that Brad [Mayo, head of S&C] got us a rowing machine, so we’ve got that in the flat. We do a mix of solo and team workouts – it’s good sometimes to train on your own and get that bit of extra time to yourself.

“Having someone to help push you along is also a benefit, and it’s good to have the company too!”

Those who witnessed the pair’s takeover of the club’s official Instagram account will be in no doubt as to their friendship. Having first played together for Scotland U20s, McDowall was happy to offer the spare room to Thornton when the loose-head’s switch to Scotstoun was announced last summer.

The dynamic duo have even settled into a routine of their own, including a first foray into the culinary world.

“He’s a good laugh, and we obviously get along well – he’s good to have around!” smiled McDowall.

“We both like to get the workout stuff out the way early, really! I’ve actually got my dad’s dog at the minute, so I’ll get up and take it for a run. We’ll then try and get a workout in before lunch, and then after that it’s trying to fill your day productively really.

“We’ve both decided to learn a new skill – I’m not sure what mine is going to be yet, but that’s a goal! We’re also doing a bit of baking at the moment – Malteaser tray bake is the go-to at the minute, purely because it’s the first and only thing we’ve tried so far! Hopefully there aren’t any kitchen dramas…”

However, there is one area that has tested the flat’s harmony in recent weeks.

“I don’t want to talk about Cricket 19!” laughed McDowall.

“We’d just watched The Test on Netflix – it’s a documentary about the Australian cricket team, which is really good. We had a look through the PlayStation store and Cricket 19 was on sale, so I bought it. Turns out George is a lot better at it than me…

“I’ve told him to stop putting the results on his Instagram now!”

The current suspension of rugby union across Europe has also allowed McDowall time to reflect on his – and the club’s – season so far. With the club in a playoff position as it stands, the centre believes the team is coming good after a rollercoaster start to the year.

“It’s been a mixed season for me, I’d say,” admitted McDowall.

“I got concussed in the pre-season match against Ulster at Scotstoun, which meant I missed the season opener against the Cheetahs in South Africa. I managed to get a run of games after that – obviously the results didn’t all go our way which was disappointing, but it was still good to get some more game time under my belt.

“We had some good performances before the suspension, though – the win against Zebre at Scotstoun was a really good team performance, and it was a game in which I was happy with my own display too. We needed five points and were pretty ruthless.”

Yet McDowall refuses to see himself as established within the Warriors squad, despite next season marking his third campaign as a professional.

“I think you’re always learning, really,” he said.

“If you think you’ve cracked it then chances are you’re about to get things flipped upside down on you.

“I’d like to think of myself as still quite a young player, but I look at Jamie Dobie and question how young I am these days!

“I just want to get out and get some more game time, to be honest. I just want to keep improving on and off the pitch, regardless of when we get back out there.”

Stafford’s Top 3… Netflix choices

Tiger King

Black Mirror

After Life

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