Rising Star: Charlie Shiel

Rising Star: Charlie Shiel

As a rugby player, scrum-half Charlie Shiel is like a sparkplug bringing unmeasurable amounts of energy to the pitch with his dynamism and fast-twitch decision making in the No. 9 jersey.

So, when it comes to training from home, you could bet your bottom dollar that Shiel wouldn’t spend the time sitting on the couch and binge watching Tiger King and The Last Dance… not that there’s anything wrong with those shows!

We caught up with the scrum-half prior the squad being put on furlough, and he stressed the importance of staying ‘on it’ from a fitness perspective, when in sense, a return to training could be just around the bend at any given moment.

Each Rising Star piece, brought to you by club sponsor Wood, will aim to bring you closer to the next generation of the club’s rising stars.

“It was nice in a way that you’re getting surprising time off, but again, once you’ve sat about for a couple of weeks, you start to get the real itch to train,” explained Shiel.

“And maybe you see some rolls of fat where they didn’t necessarily exist before!”

“I’ve been keeping myself busy though and I’ve done a lot running to keep myself active, while the S&C guys dropped off weights before lockdown, so I’ve been lucky in that I could do workouts in my flat.”

With the S&C team hard at work prior to lockdown and the squad being put on furlough, Shiel was able to get a special delivery of two dumbbells from Nick Lumley and his team.

And, while this may not seem like a lot for a professional rugby player, Shiel says that ‘you’d be surprised’ with how much he has been able to achieve with a limited set-up.

“I heard Chris Dean say on the Edinburgh podcast that the more important you are, the more weights you got… I got two dumbbells and that was me. So, you can see what they’re thinking!

“The bigger boys in the squad got squat racks and Watt Bikes, but they’ve obviously got a bit more weight to worry about than me.

“I’ve been doing a lot of workouts though, you’d be surprised with what you can do with two dumbbells. I’ve been doing bench press and push-ups for chest, while you can get in some arms and shoulder work too.

“From a medical point of view, the club have been great at just keeping an eye on us and all making sure we’re feeling fine.

It’s obviously a bizzare situation we’re in, but we’ve been looked after massively by the S&C guys and I’m sure the rest of the boys have kept themselves in good nick.”

Prior to the suspension of the 2019-20 season and the coronavirus pandemic, Shiel was enjoying a career year

The scrum-half scored his first try for the club in the Guinness PRO14 match against Leinster, made his first start in the Challenge Cup win over Agen and made his first home start against Cardiff Blues – all in the same campaign.

“It’s been a good year and for myself personally, it was great to see some progression from 2019 into 2020.

“You can now see that the coaches are really starting to trust younger boys like myself, Luke Crosbie and George Taylor. We’ve all seen a bit of game time in bigger matches as well.

“That game time, and the boys we have at the club keeps you coming in every day. We’re all mates and we definitely drive each other on.”

With experienced heads Henry Pyrgos and Nic Groom ahead of him in the pecking order, Shiel has had to scrap for every minute this season.

But, with his skillset and energy, Shiel’s exuberance at No. 9 brings a different edge to the position, and he’s keen to make that count in the years ahead.

“It’s one of those things where the more you play, the more you want to keep playing – so I’ve been keen to keep pushing myself at No. 9.

“A lot of it for me is about keeping that battle going for the No. 9 jersey, it’s a massive driving factor that keeps you going. I know I’m still young and there’s a balance of not overdoing it.

“It’s about how the team plays and as a scrum-half, you have a major influence in how they play. You can’t be selfish, but if you want to be a good player, you need to take your opportunities, and so far, I think I’ve done that.”

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