“My wife and I had been struggling with a soft, saggy mattress, and everyone we spoke to raved about Mammoth as a brand. It was not just rugby players who spoke highly of Mammoth, two separate physio’ and chiropractors recommended that we consider a Mammoth mattress”
Former Bath, Leicester and Newcastle hooker Rob Hawkins retired at the end of the 2015/16 Premiership rugby season after a successful rugby career that saw him win a Premiership title and LV cup with Leicester.
As he embarks on a new phase of his life away from professional sport, we caught up with Rob to find out more about the physical demands of rugby, career opportunities with the police and why he wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a Mammoth.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into professional rugby?
I was born into a rugby playing family in Taunton (Somerset), so it was inevitable that I would end up playing rugby at some stage. However it wasn’t until my middle to late teens that the sport became my main priority. Before that time, swimming, tennis and cricket had occupied most of my time.
I received a sporting scholarship to attend Millfield School and latterly Colston’s School which provided me with the springboard into professional rugby.
You have recently retired from rugby. What was it that told you it was the right time to end your playing career and what would you say have been your career highlights?
I probably could have carried on playing for another couple of years, but a number of things indicated that it may be a good time to depart the sport that I love. My body started talking to me injury-wise, selection was not going my way, and some pretty exciting opportunities off the field arose with the police. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to retire on my terms.
I can look back on my career with pride, having won silverware with Leicester and played in some fantastic games over the years. Winning a Premiership title with Leicester in 2013 and the LV Cup in 2011 would have to be right up there as my two highlights.
If you had to describe your rugby career in three words, what would they be?
Bath – Leicester – Newcastle.
I hope they would describe me as a committed team member who they could trust to give honest performance, and someone who takes things seriously on the pitch, but not too seriously off it.
What kind of training regime did you follow day-to-day?
Being a professional sportsman means that you have to live a very structured and disciplined lifestyle. The day-to-day training regime consists of a mix of weights, speed work and rugby training, which would always be accompanied by a combination of prehabilitation, rehabilitation, physiotherapy and massages.
There is also more off-field work than many people would expect. In the professional era we do lots of analysis in the form of match review and preview meetings. There is also work for club sponsors and community engagement work.
As the game has advanced, there has also been a strong emphasis on nutrition, rest and sleep quality. Many clubs now prescribe tailored meal plans and even use apps to help players monitor sleep.
Mammoth mattresses are known for their health benefits, particularly for people recovering from injury or looking to make performance gains. How important do you consider rest time and recovery for both the body and mind?
It is of paramount importance for any sportsperson and specifically rugby players. Your body grows, regenerates and recovers when you sleep, so factoring this into your training regime is as important as any other aspect.
Have you suffered any injuries during your career? If so, do any of them still hinder you today?
I have unfortunately received quite a few major injuries throughout my career. Your body is never quite the same after a major injury. But I have been quite fortunate that most of my injuries have been upper body related, so have not impacted hugely on my day-to-day activities.
How many hours of sleep do you aim for a night? How do you feel when you don’t get a full night’s sleep – are you good at handling fatigue?
I aim to get at least eight hours sleep a night. I have always needed my sleep (even as a kid), and turn into an absolute monster if I don’t get the sufficient amount!
As you have travelled to a lot to competitions in your sport, what do you consider to be a must-have to ensure a good night’s sleep away from home, and do you have an optimum environment to sleep in – e.g. warm and cosy, cool and clean?
I always take my own pillow as this helps sleeping in an unfamiliar environment. I dislike any form of air conditioning so I always turn it off and open the window. I feel the same about heat sources as well, so they are turned off as I like sleeping in a cool, natural environment.
How did you find out about Mammoth mattresses and what attracted you to the brand in the first place?
Purely word of mouth. My wife and I had been struggling with a soft, saggy mattress, and everyone we spoke to raved about Mammoth as a brand. It was not just rugby players who spoke highly of Mammoth, two separate physios and chiropractors recommended that we consider a Mammoth mattress.
Can you tell us which mattress model you own and what you think of your Mammoth?
We decided on a Performance 240 (firm) after testing it and were astonished to receive delivery of our brand new mattress the following day!
It is genuinely the most comfortable and supportive mattress both my wife and I have ever slept on, and I am now one of the many owners who would not hesitate to recommend Mammoth to anyone who was considering a new mattress.
If you could have a (purely platonic) late night chat with anyone, dead or alive, who’d be worth losing sleep over – and why?
It would have to be with my late grandfather. He was a policeman and I would love the opportunity to tell him that I plan on following in his footsteps.
Find out more about Rob’s Performance 240 Firm.