Academy winger Tindall keeping positive despite school closure frustrations

Leeds Rhinos Reserves v Wigan Warriors Reserves during the Reserves League clash at the Arthur Miller Stadium, Leeds, West Yorkshire. Picture by Stephen Gaunt/ +447904 833202 07/03/20

The impact of the Coronavirus crisis is being felt across the game of Rugby League with all competitions, including community and Academy seasons, on hold for the foreseeable future.

Many of the club’s young Academy players have also faced disruption away for the game, with some set to sit their GCSE and A-Level exams this year.

With schools now closed by the Government, young people across the country are facing a period of uncertainty and one of those affected is Rhinos Academy winger Liam Tindall, who was finishing his last senior year at Temple Moor Sixth Form.

“It’s just all a bit weird at the moment,” he said. “Rugby obviously came to a stop a few weeks ago and then last Friday, I had to leave school at the last minute so now I’m having to do everything in my own time, I’ve got to plan myself and motivate myself.

“I was studying for A-levels in maths, physics and PE but with the announcement last week, I’ve been told that there are going to be no exams this summer. It just feels frustrating because it’s not a waste of my time but I’ve put a lot of time and effort into my classes and it would have been good to be able to sit there and get the actual grade that I wanted. I’m still studying now though and keeping up to date with that because it’s still important.”

Tindall is now in his second year in the Rhinos academy, having scored eight tries in 19 appearances last year.

The Rhinos Academy team have been training and keeping active from home thanks to programmes set by academy sports scientist Sarah Whitehead, which Tindall said is helping them stay motivated.

“It’s keeping me busy,” commented Tindall. “It’s keeping me out of the house and giving me something to do. I just go down to the local rugby pitch and get all my stuff done, motivate myself and do everything they’re asking me to.

“It shows as well how good our Academy staff are. From the coaches to the strength and conditioners, they are always making sure we’re ok and if we ever need to talk to somebody, they will be there for us.

“All the boys are keeping in touch and we’re all supporting each other as well, always messaging and seeing how everyone is. We’ve been given similar sorts of exercises that we do in training. There are different session plans that we need to do which is good but it can be more difficult doing it on your own because you don’t have anyone there shouting you on but I’m getting it done.”

Prior to the lockdown, the winger had featured mainly for Rob Burrow’s Reserves side, playing twice and scoring against Bradford at Stanningley. He also made his first appearance for Chev Walker’s Under-18s academy side at Emerald Headingley, scoring twice in the 44-10 win.

Speaking about his progression in 2020, Tindall said: “It’s been a good start, the Reserves has been better than I expected. The standard is good even though it is a different team week to week and we’re still putting the performances in. It was great to run out for the U18s as well against Bradford. The team just wanted to prove to Chev that we were better than the loss to Wigan and to comeback like that was great.”

Besides his rugby and studies, Tindall has been using his time to help out his younger siblings around the house. “I’ve not been getting up to much besides rugby and my studies to be honest,” he said. “But I have been taking my little brother and sister and the dog out for walks and keeping active, not just sat around watching Netflix!”