Joe Marchant said that he and his team-mates at the Auckland Blues did not receive special treatment because New Zealand’s elite rugby team was preparing to return to action next month.
New Zealand’s Super Rugby Team will play a mini series behind closed doors starting June 13.
“Everything they do has complied with government regulations, nothing is different because we play rugby,” he told BBC Rugby Union Weekly BBC podcast.
Marchant, who won three English caps ahead of last year’s Rugby World Cup but failed to make the final squad, is on loan to Auckland from Harlequins.
New Zealand will be the first major rugby country to return to action, after limiting the number of coronavirus cases to less than 1,500 and only suffering 21 deaths after infection.
The return of Rugby in the northern hemisphere is further away The Pro14 team is working to restart at the end of August and Rugby Premiership eyeing the best scenario to start over in early July.
Marchant, 23, believes that three weeks of joint training should be enough for the New Zealand team to start playing again, with the players having followed their own schedule during their separate times.
“Starting next week we will start training again together,” he said.
“We have been given many kits, I have benches and dumbbell weights, speed sleds and there are no restrictions on how many times you can go outside like you have returned home so we can practice a lot. For three weeks we will play hard enough and play after that .
“The most difficult thing is there are no spectators in the match so our family will not be able to go which, for a home match, will be a little strange.”
Marchant moved to Auckland in January and has scored three trials in six appearances so far for the Blues who have also included players such as All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane in their squad.
“Everyone does it here, the game is much more lax, even in training there is always an offload all the time,” he said while reflecting on his time at Super Rugby.
“There is a great emphasis on keeping the ball alive. There is a 10 minute period in pre-season matches – one of the first here – when the ball continues to be played. Honestly, I almost died. It was fun, but it went so much.
“I think the defense in England is better, far more solid, but I think it’s about the size of the players and the speed of the game.
“I wish I could come here and bring defense as a big part of my game, but I can’t be fast – I’m trying to get back to the side of the ball it’s gone. My tackles statistics have dropped a lot and I find it much more difficult.”
Marchant said that the Blues’ big names were a big attraction to move to New Zealand, he was also impressed by the depth of quality, wing examiner name Mark Telea – “I have never seen someone beat so many people” – As a person watching.
With Manu Tuilagi, Henry Slade and Jonathan Joseph competing for center points and captain Owen Farrell was also deployed in midfield at certain times, the Marchant had to fight hard through a quality deadlock to claim England’s starting place.
He said his move to the southern hemisphere had been approved by British Australia head coach Eddie Jones.
“We only had a short conversation, but he was very supportive. “He thought it would be a good idea, that the experience of playing on the other side of the world and such rugby would be very good,” Marchant said.
Marchant will return to Harlequins on July 1 and, under current limits, will spend 14 days in quarantine on arrival before another intensive training block.
“This will be my third pre-season after the mini-season here. I have done more training than I did in my life,” he added.
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