Coronavirus: Catalans Dragons' Sam Tomkins on life under French lockdown
By Marc Bazeley
Last Updated: 02/04/20 3:14pm
Sam Tomkins has lifted the lid on what life is like under lockdown in France for him and his Catalans Dragons team-mates.
Like millions of others in France, the England international full-back has been forced to adjust his life under the rules brought in by the nation's government to combat the coronavirus pandemic on March 10 which have been extended until at least April 15.
Speaking to the Golden Point podcast, Tomkins explained how the rigid policing of the restrictions came as a shock to him and the processes which have to be followed if venturing out of his home in Perpignan for his permitted one hour per day of exercise.
"It's been really strict," Tomkins told Sky Sports. "I didn't expect it to be as strict as it has been.
"To leave the house, you have to fill a form out you get off the government website and just tick a box of a reason for leaving, and your address and what time you've left because you're only allowed to be out for an hour.
"The last three or four times I've been out over the last couple of weeks I've been stopped every time and they ask you questions.
"In the first two days of lockdown they gave 4,000 fines out for people not carrying the right paperwork, so that shocked everyone into making sure they had it with them."
It's been really strict. I didn't expect it to be as strict as it has been
With the Dragons' facilities closed as part of the lockdown measures, Tomkins and his team-mates have been given individual training programmes to follow at home and videos of exercises sent to them daily by the club's conditioner via the squad WhatsApp group.
The 31-year-old admitted it had been tough to adapt to life without the daily routine of his sporting life and has started to put together his own daily plan for things which need doing each night while his wife is putting their children to bed.
"The first couple of days we were sat around in our pyjamas until about 12pm, I'd go and walk the dog for an hour and we didn't feel like we'd got anything done," Tomkins said.
"My wife had a list of jobs around the house as long as my arm, so I thought I'd better start putting a routine together which has helped.
"Especially with the kids, you lose track of what they've been doing playing in the garden all day.
"My eldest has got home-work which is pretty important for him, he's in a full French-speaking school, so I can't expect him to have weeks off doing his French work and then go back into school."
With France having implemented lockdown earlier that the UK, there is the chance the country may emerge from those measures in the coming week while they remain in force on this side of the Channel.
That could in turn leave the Catalans able to resume their season but without any opponents while Super League remains suspended. However, Tomkins is confident everyone will be ready to go when the 2020 campaign is able to resume.
"That could happen and we'd have to see the positives in that, albeit as an extra couple of weeks training which English teams won't get," Tomkins said.
"Maybe we could go play Toulouse or Lezignan for a bit of contact, but that's something which could happen.
"I think it's just get going as soon as possible and everybody's main focus is getting playing rugby again. I think if you went across Super League teams and said 'how long do you need?', everybody would be ready to play.
"You can keep yourself fit at home and it's not that long ago every team has had a really long pre-season from November right until the end of January."