Around 70 members of the Jersey Rugby Club’s (JRFC) Academy were taught about the importance of focusing on diet, nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle if they want to pursue a career in rugby or sport more widely at a talk last month.

The talk was given to the Academy, which is sponsored by Ashburton Investments, by the JRFC’s strength and conditioning coaches Lucy O'Sullivan and Nick Dingle, who challenged the young players to help with their families' healthy shopping for one month and to cook a healthy meal for their family at least once a week.

During the talk, the coaches discussed the need to closely monitor calorie intake and highlighted how they should approach different food groups to give them the energy they need. The coaches also identified a number of healthy – and not so healthy – foods and snacks, pointing to quinoa as an increasingly popular ‘superfood’, offered a number of useful practical tips, and discussed the importance of hydration.

Nick Dingle said: “As a young athlete, the focus really needs to be on making sure you are getting a balanced diet and that means getting into good habits. The whole point of this talk was to try and make sure our Academy members are prepared for the future, so that when they get to adult age, they are able to make good decisions."

Lucy O’Sullivan added: "If our Academy members have aspirations to be rugby players at a senior level, then there are things they’ll need to think about, and often it can mean making compromises. Those compromises include not just what to eat, but when to eat it – thinking about the timing of meals and the importance of getting into a routine, for example.”

Club Chairman Bill Dempsey commented: “This is a vital area for the long-term future of the Club. We need to progress through as many of our young players as possible into the senior set up, and the Academy is key to that. If we can encourage them to start making the right health, nutrition and lifestyle choices now, it will stand them, and the Club as a whole, in good stead."