RIL’s Tom Home sat down and chatted with Louis Grimoldby from Championship new boys, Ampthill RUFC. From chicken enchiladas to Fortnite to the yoga, Louis discusses how he has been coping with lockdown and his thoughts on Ampthill’s maiden season in professional rugby.
Rugby Inside Line – First and foremost, how has lockdown affected your diet and training?
Louis Grimoldby – To be honest lockdown has had a positive effect on both. From a training perspective, my type of training has changed as I’ve got a set of dumbbells, a weighted vest and a resistance band. Therefore, I have been doing lots of CrossFit, which I have been really enjoying. The summer body should be ready for summer 2021! It’s also been nice to have the time to train when I want, instead of having to fit it around work commitments. In regard to diet, I’ve always eaten pretty well, but I’m normally picking food up on the move. It has been nice to have the time to cook something half decent, sit and enjoy it.
RIL – Have you found that not following the professionalised routines of a Championship club has affected you?
Louis Grimoldby – Personally, not really. I have always enjoyed training. Having the time to train at the moment in the day, instead of the evenings, has been quite nice and to some extent, I’ve gone back to living like a professional rugby player with my daily routine.
RIL – Have you undertaken any activities/hobbies that you didn’t previously find yourself doing before lockdown?
Louis Grimoldby – I’ve been doing a bit of yoga, which has been forced on me by my girlfriend. I’ve had a chance to turn my PlayStation on…still rubbish at Fortnite!
RIL – When you’re not doing some form of training, how do you keep yourself physically and mentally active?
Louis Grimoldby – I’ve been trying to get 10,000 steps in a day, seeing as a little achievable goal that gives me a focus. My brain is getting used here and there, I am still doing some online work with some of the students I teach. I also spend 10-minutes a day meditating – something I’ve always done, which I’ve found really beneficial especially in lockdown.
RIL – What is the best thing about having a break from rugby?
Louis Grimoldby – Being able to have a beer on a Friday night is nice. It’s also nice to switch off not having to think about what plays to run on the weekend etc.
RIL – What meal have you mastered during lockdown?
Louis Grimoldby – I’ve been enjoying cooking Mexican food, my forte is enchiladas, as well as paella.
RIL – What is your pet peeve in lockdown and why?
Louis Grimoldby – Not being able to have a few beers with the boys!
RIL – How does it feel knowing that you have survived your first season in the Championship and in less than six months, you could be playing the European Champions?
Louis Grimoldby – Obviously for us it’s been an enjoyable season and to finish 5th is a proud moment for the club and everyone involved. It will certainly be an experience playing Sarries at Dillingham Park, but I think as players, we will relish the challenge, regardless of the result. It’s not often you have an opportunity to test yourself against the very best in our sport. I imagine it will feel like an FA Cup clash between Liverpool and Blyth Spartans.
RIL – Some of the Championship clubs have great facilities and wealthy financial backing. Do you think Ampthill could remain in the Championship long enough to grow like that?
Louis Grimoldby – I hope so. We might not have the training facilities of some teams, but we have a top playing surface. There is no doubt next season will be even tougher than this season. Teams now know about us; therefore, we have lost that element of surprise with the way we play and where our pitch is situated in the middle of the woods. Add to that the implications of the RFU cuts and post COVID-19, it will be challenging, but as a club, we want to move forward in a sustainable way and become a very good Championship team. As a squad, we will continue to work hard and see how far we can go.
RIL – Player wages in top leagues have been the subject of huge debate, do you worry that about the apparent lack of debate for the pyramid below the Premiership and grassroots clubs?
Louis Grimoldby – I don’t worry about the lack of debate around lower level wages. I worry about the lack of importance the RFU places on Championship clubs and grassroots rugby in its “Pyramid”.
Clubs at lower levels can only pay players what they can afford. The RFU cuts have meant that what a lower level club could afford to pay previously they can no longer do, unless a club has a financial backer that is prepared to lose money. It is what it is, we now need to move on and find a way to make it work.