Bill and Josh Beaumont are fighting intensely personal – but very different – rugby battles amid the backdrop of the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sport around the world. Bill, 68, is attempting to hold onto the chairmanship of World Rugby against the challenge of vice-chairman Agustin Pichot, while his 28-year-old son, a key member of the Sale Sharks squad, is devising ways of completing his seven-month rehabilitation from knee reconstruction surgery while in lockdown with limited training aids.
The electronic vote for World Rugby’s top job takes place on April 26, with the result of the 52-council member election revealed on May 12. But the results of Beaumont junior’s home-based strength training and fitness regime will only be properly tested when Sale are allowed to bring their squad together again for the attempted completion of the Gallagher Premiership season.
With Bill having the most powerful job in the sport, Beaumont is backing his father to retain his role as chairman. “I’m very proud of how hard he has worked over the last four years to grow the game and also look after the players,” said Josh Beaumont to RugbyPass. “I have seen at first hand the amount of effort he has put in. Fingers crossed he is successful in this campaign and can do another four years to continue the good work he has already done.”
While the dates for his father’s re-election fight are set in stone, Beaumont’s own timeline has been severely affected by the coronavirus lockdown. The only positive note was that his move from a flat to a house in the Manchester suburbs happened just before social distancing, allowing him space to create an indoor gym with the equipment he managed to attain.
Before the lockdown, Beaumont was receiving daily treatment and following a personal rehabilitation programme alongside Sale’s strength and conditioning experts, but now that is all done remotely.
Sale are unable to send their physios to his home to deal with the aches and pains around the patella tendon that required two surgeries. The restrictions have left the 6ft 7in forward doing his best to self-treat with equipment collected while recovering from previous injuries.
Weight training aimed at strengthening the injured knee is possible, but Beaumont does not own a bike – let alone a static Wattbike – which could significantly aid his recovery sessions.
“It’s quite hard to judge exactly where I am with the recovery, not being able to work full time at the Sale training ground,” admitted the club’s ex-captain. “It’s coming along quite well and I was able to get some equipment back to the house.
“I have about four more weeks building the leg muscles up to where the other side is. Once I get to that level I can start running again so, hopefully, I will be able to play a bit this season. In normal circumstances, I would be doing two or three conditioning sessions and bike work, but I haven’t got access to a Wattbike and don’t actually own any bike! Even if I did I’m not sure riding around the roads is a good idea anyway.
Good luck to the @SaleSharksRugby lads this afternoon back at the AJ Bell in the @ChampionsCup Gutted I can’t be out there but will hopefully be back towards the end of the season. Thanks for all the kind messages I’ve received over the past couple of weeks ?
— Josh Beaumont (@JoshBeaumont1) November 24, 2019
“The longer I can leave it for that tendon to bed in the better. I have been doing as many different weights exercises as possible but not getting access to the club’s physios and receiving treatment when coming off a serious injury means areas in the leg do get tight and that is the downside at the moment.
“Because of all my injuries over the years I have a load of recovery equipment at home but it’s not the same as treatment from a trained professional who knows how to loosen up the tight areas. The knee got infected, so I needed another operation, and the first couple of months of rehab were pretty rubbish.”
Beaumont ruptured the tendon against Wasps at the start of November and a six-month recovery became seven when the injury got infected. He was hoping to make it back before the end of Sale’s current campaign and now, with the suspended Premiership schedule set to be played in the summer, there is every chance he could still play a part in the bid for the title.
The second-placed outfit have brought in Springbok stars to create a squad of real depth and Beaumont is eager to add his own particular skills to the equation. Picked in Eddie Jones’ first England squad in 2016 before a shoulder injury halted his progress that season, the Australian identified Beaumont as a player who could operate with equal impact as a specialist No8 and second row, a dual role he has since tried to give Bath’s Charlie Ewels.
This could prove a hard-sell to the Celts, especially the Irish https://t.co/ivClAHhYci
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 15, 2020
However, reminding Jones about his unique talents is not at the top of Beaumont’s list of priorities at the moment. “It took us time to get going at Sale because of people coming in at different times after the World Cup. With my injury, we were a bit short in the second row, but Jean-Luc du Preez has been doing a good job alongside Bryn Evans.
“Bryn is an All Black, has that experience and has been immense this season. I have learnt so much from him about the lineout. We also have Lood de Jager, who is a massive guy and gives us even more lineout options. My motivation is to get back and help Sale win something this season.”
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