Window coffees, secret wall-knocks and in-room workouts are all part of Wallabies lockdown in New Zealand as they count down to begin proper Bledisloe Cup preparations.
The Wallabies are bedded down in quarantine in a Christchurch hotel although it’s not as restrictive as in Australia, with the players allowed out at times through the day into a garden area as long as they are masked and practice social distancing.
They eat all their meals in their rooms and apart from their laptops and phones for entertainment, some unlucky players have been given watt bikes while others are making do with exercise bands and pull-up bars.
Forward Ned Hanigan said the players were keeping upbeat, and up tempo as the three days isolation ticks over before they undergo a COVID-19 test and can hit the training paddock on Tuesday morning,
“We had a session this morning and the players were all jumping around which was pretty funny,” Hanigan said.
“I’ve got Hoops above me and I thought he was going to end up in the room with me, there was a bit of thunder going on.
“There’s a bit of coo-eeing out the window going on every so often and we get a coffee and sit close to the window and have a bit of a yarn.
“And I’ve got a secret knock with Hunter (Paisami) on my wall so at least we know each other is still alive and well.”
With a drawl to match his country roots, Hanigan has proved a hit with new Wallabies coach Kiwi Dave Rennie although the 25-year-old wasn’t too sure.
“It’s cause I sound funny,” the NSW Waratah said.
Asked whether Rennie saw him as a lock or a blindside flanker Hanigan says the coach’s feedback had been mostly around his shaggy blond hair.
“He thinks I need a hair-cut – I don’t know whether that’s to look better on the side of the scrum or so I can fit between two props.”
Starting with the first Bledisloe in Wellington on October 11, Hanigan is hoping to add to his 20 Tests with his international future uncertain after signing a one-year deal to play in Japan.
“We all knows times are a bit different and the landscape is a bit different all over the world so going to Japan for a bit of a stint and we will see what happens after that.
“But there’s plenty of footy to be played between now and then.”
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