Cornwall RLFC


Combat Training Paying Off for Cornwall Prop Bolger

March 6, 2022

Paul Bolger - Interview

Gone are the days of rugby league players having their pre-season schedules filed with endless bleep tests and running army assault courses.

Although fitness is a huge part of any particular player’s skill set, alternative training methods can be equally beneficial to help ready a rugby league warrior for battle.

And amongst Cornwall RLFC’s playing squad, some have been trying their hand at Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), a martial combat sport based on ground fighting and submission holds.

South American originated, the discipline is about honing skills to take an opponent to the ground and executing control whilst trying to dominate position, almost like a rugby league ruck so it’s logical to see why using BJJ could help on-field performance.

Irish prop Paul Bolger is one of our players who is preparing for the Betfred League 1 season by taking part in BJJ sessions and he told all about his unorthodox training under the guise of black belt Nick Tiscoe.

“In one of our first Saturday training sessions, we got into Concept Gym over at Newquay, doing some Brazilian jiu-jitsu with Nick, who is the black belt teacher,” Bolger began.

“I used to do a bit of that kind of thing when I was younger but getting back on the mats and rolling around, doing different wrestling moves meant I was hooked again.

“The following week I was in the gym in one of Nick’s classes and I’ve managed to drag Joe (Purcell) along. Anthony (Mullally) has been going too so there is a decent crowd of our boys that have got into it and really want to give it a go.

“The skills I learn with Nick are massively transferable to the rugby field because both are all about manipulating your opponent. If you can win that wrestle then you are going to do better on the mat and in a game too.

“The great thing about Nick is that he’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever seen. He knows what skills we need to practice in a rugby sense and tailors our sessions for that.

“That back-to-basics approach has been very humbling for me personally and a breath of fresh air. I think it is really benefiting my game and it will make me even better.”

It’s not only in training where Bolger has made changes since signing for the Choughs. Initially based in Gloucestershire, the likeable Irish prop has now relocated to the Duchy in a move that will enable him ‘to give everything’ to Cornwall RLFC’s cause.

“I said in the first instance that Cornwall is just like Ireland but we have nice beaches here,” he added. “With the commute I was doing from Gloucestershire, I was struggling to give 100 per cent and I didn’t want to do half a job.

“This club and project needs everything and I’m prepared to give everything by moving to Cornwall, getting round the boys and showing what I can do.”