THE PACK finally got the opportunity to train together last week, for the first time since December.

The RFL ruled that training could return this month and as an elite club, Whitehaven RLFC players are able to train as a group during the national lockdown.

Haven are now making preparations for the return of competition, which will begin with the Challenge Cup.

Each player returned a negative Covid test in order to train with the group.

Assistant coach Jonty Gorley said: “It was just good to get together.”

“I think we had 24 on Wednesday and the same on Friday it was another good session.”

Before Christmas around half of the players who felt comfortable with it were going through stage one of training as a team, with the other half sending proof of their individual training to the coaches.

Haven players have just started stage two of pre-season, Gorley said: “We’re more or less back up to speed, we’ve just got to be careful.”

The Challenge Cup return for championship rugby is welcome, Gorley said: “When they gave us the date of March 21 that gives the coaches something to aim for.”

Gorley added that it has been a frustrating period for Haven: “It’s bound to have been for the fans. For the last 12 months we’ve had no normality.

He said: "I’d like to think this is giving someone something to look forward to."

Haven are excited to see recent signings in action, Gorley said: “When you look at the home games, we were just getting beat by a tri or 6-8 points, just getting the basics wrong and then you go to Widnes and London and you give the top teams a run for their money and you think ‘we’re not far off’. But then we get beat by Swinton at home.”

Haven bosses realised that they needed to add something to their game.

“It’s good to get these lads on board, it’ll be interesting to see.”

As well as returning favourites and new faces, Gorley added that players who have recently been sidelined are on their way back to the Recreation Ground.

“We didn’t see the best of Glenn Reilly because we was injured, we’ve got all these lads that are adding different things to the squad.”