RugbyWarfare Talks To London Irish Scrum Half Darren Allinson

When and how did you get started with rugby?

I started playing rugby at the age of five. As a child, I always looked up to my older brother; he was a big fan of rugby and everywhere we went, a rugby ball wasn’t too far away.

What keeps you motivated?

My love for the game is my biggest motivation. There are other factors such as the social lifestyle, networking, and the financial reward in professional sport is very good, but nothing beats the feeling of running out on a Saturday afternoon in front of your supporters.

What’s your gym training routine?

Rugby is a very physical sport and after playing on a Saturday it takes time to recover. Therefor our gym routine is recovery on a Monday, which includes a light upper body session and a spin on the bike. Tuesday is our tough day, we get put through a grueling lower body session before a day off on Wednesday. Thursday is an upper body weights session and Friday is a very short and sharp power session.

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What’s your typical daily diet like? Does it change in the pre-season compared to in-season?

My typical daily diet contains an intake of 3200 calories. This is split up into 220grams of carbohydrates, 180grams of protein, and 90grams of fat. This ensures I’m eating enough throughout the day and also gives me plenty of energy for my workouts. Strictly staying within these macros ensures I don’t put on any body fat, only muscle mass.

Do you use supplements? If so, what and why?

Supplements are a significant factor of our recovery. Post weights, condition, and games we will use the relevant supplement to ensure our bodies are getting the important nutrients that they need.

Favourite supplement?

My favourite supplement is whey protein. Without this product I think I will lose body weight very easily and playing a physical sport such as rugby, you need to ensure that you are physically up for the challenge.

What’s your pre-match music?

I’m not the type of player that needs to listen to music to get myself ready for a game but there are many players that do. Music is always on in the changing room pre and post match, and im happy whatever is on the playlist!

What’s your preparation like before a game?

Personally the key for me is to carb up the day before a game. As a 9 I cover a lot of distance in a game and eating as much as I can the day before gives me plenty of energy. Hydration the day before a match is also crucial, I will just swig away on water throughout the day. By doing the previous I wake up and I feel ready for a game, I will visualise what I expect of myself and also go through the final prep by looking over some notes I’ve made during the week.

Work hard and you will reap the benefits.

Best moment in your rugby career?

My best moment in rugby to date is winning the Amlin Challenge Cup. Beating Toulon in the final at Marseille in front of a full capacity was very special.

Most challenging match you have played in?

Most challenging match was the semi final of the Amlin Cup which we went on to win. We played London Wasps at their ground, Adams Park, and the conditions were awful. It poured down with rain from minute one to minute 80. At half time we had to change our entire kit; socks, shorts, and jersey. As a scrum-half the conditions were so bad I had to narrow everything up, as hitting the 10 who would normally stand 15metres away from the nine was not going to happen!

Have you had any low points in your career? If so, how did you overcome it/them?

I had a low point when I left Wales to play my rugby in England. I don’t regret a thing because I play in the toughest league in the world as many pundits believe. But at 20 years of age I had a big choice to make and when I arrived in London I thought I made a big mistake. Leaving all my family and friends in Wales had a bigger effect on me than I thought it would but the club were great to me and after a couple of months I was thoroughly enjoying myself and haven’t looked back since! London is a great place to live….

Any final tips and advice for anyone looking to improve their rugby performance?

Firstly you need to be enjoying what you are doing. This will help so much as you are then prepared to put in the work to help raise your standards. Then it comes down to hard work….work hard and you will reap the benefits.

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