HARRY Johnson-Holmes made the mistake of riding his Harley to training the day the NSW Waratahs gym was shutdown and equipment distributed to the players.
"I came home with a skipping rope and a theraband," Johnson-Holmes said. "I was finding random inanimate objects and lifting them. I slowly managed to claim a few bits of equipment and in the end I was well equipped."
It has been more that three months since COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2020 Super Rugby season on March 15.
It's replacement Super, Rugby Australia, kicks off on Friday night with the NSW Waratahs to take on old foes Queensland at Suncorp Stadium.
For the Tahs, it's a chance to atone for a terrible start to the 2020 campaign in which they registered one win from six starts and were thumped 51-14 by the Chiefs and 47-14 by the Brumbies in their final two games.
"There is no better incentive to win than playing against Queensland," Johnson-Holmes said. "It is the first game of a new competition ... it's a good way to set a benchmark."
Johnson-Holmes, in his third season with the Waratahs after relocating from Newcastle club Wanderers to Sydney in 2016, has made the switch from loosehead prop to tighthead.
After a tough initiation against the powerhouse Auckland Blues pack in a 32-12 defeat in Newcastle in round two of Super Rugby in February, Johnson-Holmes was growing in confidence and knowledge when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
"I was a bit disappointed that the season ended when it did," the 23-year-old said. "I felt like i was making good progress and was happy with how I scrummaged against a very impressive Brumbies pack.
"It has been pretty good coming back from thet break. I haven't forgotten everything. It is a bit like riding a bike in a weird twisted way. I was able to get back in and feel at home and hit the reset button.
"We had an internal trial [last Saturday] which was a good way to see where we were at physically. Scrummaging was a big one having had blokes out of the saddle for eight weeks. It has been a gradual crescendo for us. We have been back to eight-on-eight for about four weeks.
"The benefit for us is that we got to play the Reds in a trial game at the start of the year. They have a lot of really good young tight-five players coming through.
"We are trying to get our process sorted and hopefully that nullifies some of their firepower. We have done our homework ... with them, you have to have a plan A, B and C."
The new competition will feature a host of law variations designed to speed the game up and have the ball in play for longer periods. Among them is a limit of scrum resets.
"Each scrum is going to be important, especially getting your set-up right and ensuring you are not collapsing and putting yourself in the 50-50 decision area," Johnson-Holmes said. "Not too much changes around the process but I imagine there will be a lot less scrums. It won't change too much besides waking up the next day with a better neck and back.
"It will be great for the game. Everyone likes to see the ball getting thrown around. Blokes with a skill set beyond set piece will really benefit from it. I am excited for it."
While focused on providing a strong anchor the Tahs scrum, Johnson-Holmes hopes his development at tighthead can help add to his sole Wallabies Test cap - playing off the bench at loosehead in a 35-17 loss to South Africa in Johannesburg last July.
"I wasn't closing one door to open another," Johnson Holmes said. "From an international position, it is good to have someone that has versatility. When you are carrying five props in a touring team, you do want someone who can juggle both sides. I think it can't hurt.
"For me it has been a really good opportunity to learn both sides and understand the defence and the attacking perspective of loosehead and tighthead."