Gordonians captain Danny Osugo insists he will not take rugby for granted as his club prepares to return to action on Saturday.
The Dons start their National League Division 2 campaign when they make the trip to GHK for their season opener.
The long wait is almost over as Scottish club rugby returns from its 18-month hiatus and as far as Osugo is concerned it cannot come quickly enough.
He said: “What the pandemic has shown is how much we took this for granted. I’ve played rugby every Saturday since I was a young lad and never in a millions years did I ever think it would be taken away.
“I’ve lost a year-and-a-half of the game. I’m not getting any younger and the break has really given me the chance to re-evaluate. It all feels fresh as we get ready to return and there’s a real feeling of excitement. I’m sure it’s the same at every club.”
Much has changed since Gordonians last played a competitive fixture, with Jim Greenwood having taken charge as head coach last summer.
Despite the absence of competitive fixtures, Usogo says the players and staff at Countesswells have made the most of their time during the lockdown under their new coach.
He said: “As a club we’ve kept within the guidelines. We’ve essentially created a place where the boys could train for the last 18 months based on the laws of the land.
“To be fair being able to train has kept me sane. I felt it was such a good release when I was able to go to training, even if it wasn’t full contact.
“It has been a really strange time, but seeing the enthusiasm and the numbers of boys at training has been really encouraging, especially as we’ve gotten closer to the season starting.
“Jim has been fantastic. He’s got some really good ideas and a very positive outlook on how he wants to play the game. I’ve really enjoyed working with him.”
Following an extended break in play for all clubs, predicting what lies ahead in the new season is an impossible task.
Usgo is convinced his club’s campaign will be an exciting one regardless of their final league placing.
He said: “I don’t know what to expect this season in terms of the league, but I know we will play an attractive brand of rugby that is synonymous with Gordonians and we’ll enjoy playing it.
“We have young talented player who want to play aggressively and ball in hand.
“We played Strathmore last week and it was a great game. We played some exciting stuff and if we can execute better and more disciplined then we can cause teams problems.
“I’ve no idea how the season will pan out, but I know we have created a positive ethos where the focus is on playing exciting rugby.
“The boys have bought into the style I know if we execute we will win games. We don’t know how other teams are looking as it has been 18 months without rugby, but it’s the same for everyone. All we can do is focus on ourselves.”