Catalans coach Steve McNamara has detailed life in lock-downed France as he attempts to keep his squad active in unprecedented times.
The former England boss lives alone in an apartment in Canet with his family back in England, and now has strictly limited movement and a complete curfew between 8pm and 6am.
Any trips outside must be accompanied with paperwork and a reason, with French authorities stringently enforcing the measures around the country.
McNamara explained: “I’ve been stopped four times by police, and if you don’t produce that piece of paper and they agree with where you’re going, then it’s a €35 fine the first time and then €135. It’s very strict but everybody is trying to abide by it.
“It was really bizarre the last hour before the lockdown kicked in at midday on Tuesday. It was sad in a way – I drove past a pharmacy and all the older people were queuing up outside for their regular medicine.
“It felt like the last half hour of everyone’s lives, it was a very surreal and unique feeling. Everybody was wandering around at 12 o’clock and then everybody disappeared.
“It’s something we’ve never experienced before but at the same time it allows you to really reflect on what you’ve got. We’ve all had a number of years where we’ve been fortunate in so many areas.
“People before us have gone through the wars and everything that went with that – hopefully this brings the best out of people and when it’s over we’ll all be more grateful for things.”
McNamara’s squad have been carrying out “prison-style” training routines at home and competing in Whatsapp challenges between themselves, with no certainty over when they will next play.
The one positive for McNamara himself has been the time to focus on French lessons, which saw him address Catalans supporters in the language in a Twitter update this week.
He added: “If there was a school report on me they'd say good effort, tries his hardest but a long way to go.
'What this has done is give you a chance to focus solely on something like this. When the season gets up and running you’re on that rugby league treadmill and it’s hard to concentrate on other things.
“If there’s a little bit of a good thing to come out of this for me it’s that hopefully I can really get stuck into it and come out with some better French.”
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