Whether you are relaxing in the off season or planning a club tour, rugby holidays can mix R&R with touch rugby, beach running or just catching rays. There are hundreds of destinations around the globe offering sun, sea and sand, but here is a choice selection of the very best.
Surfing works wonders on your core muscles and balance. Soaking yourself in the sea won’t give you the same benefits of a cryogenic chamber, especially in the warmth of Cadiz, but you will relax those tired muscles after all that scrummaging.
The south and east coasts of Barbados boast some of the finest surfing conditions in the Caribbean. Likewise, you can keep your fitness up in the high waves of Playa Dominical in Costa Rica.
Closer to home are the ripping surfing conditions on the west coast of Portugal or Cadiz near Seville in southern Spain, perfect for keeping your core balance muscles toned in the off season. At both shores, there will be beach barbecues with stunning, freshly caught fish dishes, so you won’t suffer a spare type during your vacations!
Life’s a beach
Running on a sandy surface is always a more demanding workout than pounding the pavement, but did you know that you can burn up to 30%more calories? It’s kinder on your knee joints and lessens the likelihood of shin splints and small bone fractures in your feet and ankles, too.
So, pack a pair of beach-running shoes and head for Golden Bay in Malta, which is one of the most treasured sandy beaches in Europe. Running on flat, wet sand is perfect for toning your calf muscles.
Croatia has a reputation for high-quality beach activities such as sea kayaking and scuba diving, both of which work on your upper-body strength and conditioning. You also have the option of sailing around the Adriatic Coast.
Another top destination for seaside escapes is Turkey’s glorious Aegean Coast, where the wealthy yachtsmen sail around Bodrum and the surrounding bays, a luxury locale something akin to the French Riviera.
Further afield, you can head out for swimming and snorkeling at Sandspur and Caloosa Beaches in Key Largo in the Florida Keys. The Americans are hugely courteous, and Bahia Honda remains a protected area with gorgeous sandscapes.
Rest and recuperation
It’s been a very long and arduous club season, and you want nothing more than to lie on a sun-lounger, chatting about your exploits with teammates. Cap d’Antibes, between Cannes and Nice on the Cote d’Azur in France, is the very height of luxury – and of course, the locals love their rugby amid the high life for which the French Riviera is so revered.
So, take a Canterbury Thrillseeker Training Beach Rugby Ball along, and work off that season’s stresses! Over on Corfu’s east coast, you will find similarly spectacular beaches, except these are beautifully pebbly. At Moraitika are striking cypress trees and you can sit on one of Europe’s top beach resorts and forget about cold November training days in all that mud and splatter.
Stoupa in Greece boasts sleepy olive trees and turquoise fishing bays in the wild Outer Mani peninsular. The Taygetos mountain range towers above the rich blue waters, reaching a high of almost 2500m, should any of your gang fancy a bit of seaside climbing to sort out a little upper-body conditioning. The Mediterranean diet of olives, wholegrains and legumes not only reduces your cholesterol and the risk of heart problems, but it will also provide you with all the protein you need to build up those climbing muscles and maintain your bulk.