Change has been as good as a rest for Saints star Myler

Stephen Myler has not played in Saints' two most recent matches
Stephen Myler has not played in Saints' two most recent matches

Stephen Myler was one of several Saints stars ‘rested’ or ‘rotated’ during the past two weeks.

But what exactly does that mean for the professional rugby player?

Some fans will picture their heroes lying on a beach at an exotic destination, sunning themselves while their team-mates continue to wade through the January mud.

And for some players that is the case, with Louis Picamoles one man who recently took a well-earned break abroad.

But for others, the break from action is not as restful as it may appear from the outside, as Stephen Myler explains.

“I’ve had two weeks not playing, but it’s been far from a rest,” said the fly-half.

“I’ve been training hard and getting ready for when I’ve been required.

“It’s the first time I’ve had two weeks of being frustrated and freshened up so I’m ready to push forward for the remainder of the season now.”

Myler trained as normal before being allowed to rest during the meaningless Champions Cup clash with Montpellier a couple of weeks ago and the Anglo-Welsh Cup game at Leicester last weekend.

But he did manage to get some time away from training.

“I found out in the week before the Montpellier game that I wouldn’t be playing so I trained as normal and then got five days off,” he said.

“I got five days away from the club, doing my own bits of training, but then I had a full week before Leicester, helping the lads prepare for the game and doing everything I could.”

So what own bits did Myler do?

“It’s mainly stuff to tick over because we’re creatures of habit,” he said.

“It was nothing strenuous. I wasn’t out goalkicking or hitting tackle bags, I was just going to the gym, turning my legs over on a bike, doing some weights, just bits of rehab for any niggles I’ve got at the moment.

“It’s just about keeping on top of myself so that when I come back in I’m as good as I can be.

“I know Luther (Burrell) managed to get away on holiday which the club encouraged because it’s nice to do that sometimes and mentally freshen yourself up.

“But last week certainly wasn’t a rest - it was actually more training than I’ve done for a while because I was able to get in the gym and do some proper lifting sessions.

“I could get into leg weights later in the week, which you can’t do when you’re playing because you’d just be too sore and not fresh enough.

“It was nice to be able to get that in so that when required I can come back in and be feeling good.”

Saints have far more chance to rest and rotate this season, with the club out of Europe and the Anglo-Welsh Cup back after taking a break last season due to the World Cup, which made the campaign more compact.

And Myler thinks his club can use their rest weeks to their advantage in the bid to make the Aviva Premiership top four.

“It’s been pretty hectic in recent seasons,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we’re out of Europe now and that’s why I didn’t play in at Montpellier.

“It’s not a position we’d like to be in, but we’ve got to use it as best we can and hopefully it will put us in good stead going forward for the rest of the Premiership season.

“Much has been made of our struggles and all that sort of stuff in the early part of the season, but we play Bath and I remember the first game of the season. It was a really close game and if the result went the other way, we’d actually be in fourth and the panic stations wouldn’t have been hit as they already have been.

“It’s just shows what the margins are for success and failure, or what is preceived as it, and if we’d have won that game it might have set us off on a better run. But we’ve got a good opportunity to go there and push for the position we want to be in the league. It’s in our hands.”