Jones relishing return to action
The last time Huw Jones walked into Scotstoun for the first training session of the week, the centre was building up to an all-Conference A clash with Leinster following a try-scoring performance against the Dragons just two days earlier.
Fast-forward five months, and whilst there have been changes aplenty as a result of COVID-19, it still feels just like home for Glasgow Warriors.
“It’s been great to be back at Scotstoun and back where we belong,” Jones told glasgowwarriors.org.
“It’s still obviously not as it was before – you can’t use the changing rooms or the showers, for example – but it’s a step in the right direction. Each day that goes by we take another step closer to the games next month.
“The operations team has set up the gym on the indoor track, so you’re paired up and you share one of the gym bays that have been spaced out. Only you can use that bay, and you need to clean it down and disinfect it after you’re done.
“It’s then straight out onto the field – we’re into more contact work with bags and pads, touch rugby games and small sided skill games now, so we’re building up to a return to full training. It’s straight out again when you’re done, too. It’s all been running smoothly so far.”
The return to Scotstoun marked the latest step on the road to rugby’s return for Jones and his team-mates, a road that leads to BT Murrayfield and a double-header with Edinburgh in less than a month’s time. It’s a double-header that also serves as the first chance for the squad to impress the new additions to the coaching staff, in the form of Head Coach Danny Wilson and assistant Jonny Bell.
“The whole squad is buzzing to getting back to playing rugby,” said Jones.
“The fact that it’s two derbies against Edinburgh makes it even better. They should be two great matches, too.
“I knew Danny from the Scotland setup, and he’s great. He’s working more with the forwards and overall team stuff at the minute, but he’s been great to have in the setup. Jonny has been great as well – he’s brought in a lot of new ideas while at the same time retaining our attacking identity. They’ve both made a really good impression so far, and now it’s up to us to impress them.”
Jones hasn’t been idle during rugby’s suspension, though; Maltese-poodle cross Louie has made absolutely sure of that.
“I’ve not really done anything productive, but I’ve been pretty good at filling the time!” laughed Jones.
“I’ve watched a few series, read a few books, and Louie’s been keeping us busy. We’ve been taking him out for walks all the time – he’s been absolutely loving life in the last few months!
“I’ve been talking to a few of the guys who have dogs, and they’re all saying the same thing in that the dogs have all become quite clingy when we’ve been around all day. It’ll be interesting to see how they adjust now we’re going to work! Most of the boys have dogs now, and I know some other clubs have kennels at training – maybe Shiz [kitman Dougie Mills] can set that up for us!”
For now, though, Louie will have to just watch on as Jones heads back to the day job. With his first try for Glasgow coming against Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield back in 2017, along with December’s scintillating assist for Ali Price at Scotstoun and a try in the most recent meeting between the two sides, is there a better opponent for Jones to be taking aim at as he targets rugby’s return?
“I’ve had a couple of good moments against them for sure!” laughed the centre.
“We might not always have won, but hopefully if I’m selected I’ll be able to keep that good run of form and maybe get over the whitewash again.
“We’ll be going 100% into these games because we always want to win, but the main thing for everyone is getting back to playing again.”