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Chris Wyles - Mr. Flexible

Chris Wyles is one rugby’s true unsung heroes. This is in spite of winning 54 caps for the USA Eagles and captaining them to huge accolades at the last World Cup.

His flexibility has been phenomenal for us Mark McCall

But ask any of his coaches or teammates how they feel about Chris and the sentiment is unanimous; professional, consistent and a true team player. Able to play in numerous positions he’s one of those players who brings a typically Saracens’ team spirit but often goes unsung. In person Chris is immediately affable, generous with his time; he greets you with a broad smile that is instantly disarming.


Managing your body can be tough because...

Week to week you’re getting knocks and niggles. It can be pretty relentless. You can have one injury and think it’s solved but it returns when you come back for a game. Consistency of injury can be difficult to manage.

It’s crucial to keep...

Conditioned while playing. You get through some injuries because your body is conditioned to do so. But when you’re out for a while you come back and you get knee, hamstring or muscle issues. It’s a balance between consistently playing and managing knocks and injuries.

When it comes to preparing your body for battle there is...

A lot to do. Sometimes the physio room is a complete war zone with tape everywhere. Here at Saracens there is a host of people looking after us. Not to mention all the science that goes into it.

Joint issues for rugby players are...

Massive. We go through a lot. At the end of it all, after our career, you’ll hear guys talking about it, they want to be able to play with their children, to be able to do normal things. When it comes to the load and impact we put through our joints, it’s not the cure you’re worried about - that side of it is part of the modern game - it’s about managing the body so when you come out of your career you can move healthily and lead a normal life.

During your career you want to...

Maximise your body and play the best rugby you can play. You want to take everything from your career and not feel as if you’ve been hampered by niggling injuries.

When you’re sitting on the sidelines injured it’s….

The worst feeling. Some players are more fortunate than others. I’ve been lucky enough not to have too many injuries. But when you’re not playing, seeing all your teammates playing great rugby and getting the results, you feel as if you’re not contributing. It’s the worst thing. Ultimately we get paid to play, that’s what we want to do, it’s what we love, it’s been our dream since we were kids. The idea of sitting and watching other guys play sport is massively frustrating.

The players who are injured...

End up training more than we do. They have to get back into condition. Prehab, rehab, it’s not like you get to rest and chill out more. Far from it. You’re training even harder. And mentally as well.

When it comes to treatment...

Less is more for me. I don’t want to fill my body with drugs, I want my body to heal as naturally as possible. That’s what’s great about Flexiseq, it’s drug free. It’s hassle free as well. It’s a pulled back approach, you apply itto the joint that’s sore and that’s it. I like that element of it. There’s a mental thing for me, if you become overly concerned with your injuries and think too much about them, it can take you over. With something like Flexiseq you just put it on and it’s done. We have players in the dressing room who swear by it.

Drug free is important because…

Keeping everything as natural as possible is key. It’s a very topical conversation in sport right now. When we talk about illegal and banned drugs, rugby is a very clean sport. The list of banned substances is always changing. Even in some of our nutritional supplements you’re having to second guess what is in it, you have to be so careful about what you consume. You can be caught out by it but something like Flexiseq you know there’s not going to be any issues so there’s peace of mind.

Joint issues are more prevalent in rugby because...

The amount of load we put through our bodies, the size of the players, our weight. A lot of us aren’t naturally meant to be as heavy as we are so there’s bound to be an increase in joint issues.

Injuries are...

Part of the game. 100%. It’s a tough one because you can’t really avoid it but it can have a huge effect on your season and your career. Looking after your body is really important.

Injuries in the modern game have resulted in...

Discussions about concussion and impacts being more powerful and heavier. In reality if you look back at rugby twenty years ago the players were a lot smaller and less fit. The contacts therefore now are more frequent and much bigger.

Tackling shouldn’t be banned in the kids game because…

Kids need to learn how to tackle. When talking about injuries that’s part of any sport. Rugby is at its safest when people know how to play the game. If you know how to tackle properly, the more physical you are in a game of rugby the less you’ll get injured. The more held back you are, reserved, that’s where the injuries come in. You can get injuries in all sports: football, tennis or rugby. The better the technique the safer it is, the more physical you can be and in turn the safer it becomes. You can’t teach kids on a white board, they need to do it.

Physios are key because…

Their organisation and the way they manage and look after the players is crucial. At Saracens especially you feel like you’re in safe hands. They set expectations and clearly communicate to the player and the coaches, which is a tough job because the coaches want the players out there and the players obviously want to play. They have a massive role in making sure it’s right for both the player and the team that a player is passed fit.

The worst injury I’ve experienced on a rugby pitch is….

My face. I ran into Joe Worsley’s head. He’s got a massive head. I fractured my face, both my cheek bones.

Recovery days are important because…

Getting your feet up, getting well physically are crucial. It wouldn’t work if you didn’t have those recovery days.

The most professional player is…

Steve Borthwick, now the England forward’s coach. He was unbelievably meticulous about his timings, when he had to do things. Super organised when it came to his body, he was doing all kinds of prehab, rehab stuff in the finest of details.

I hope to never be tackled by…

Brad Barritt.

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