Zach Mercer has been one of England’s leading Number Eights in recent years. Having performed consistently in a Bath shirt since 2016, he caught the attention of England coach, Eddie Jones, and gained his first cap for the national team in 2018 against South Africa. After half a decade at Bath, it was confirmed this season that he would be making the switch to French Top 14 side Montpellier for the 2021/22 season.
As a true professional focused on improving all aspects of his game and getting the most out of his career, Zach purchased a Mammoth in 2021 to ensure that he was sleeping on the highest quality mattress and giving his body and mind the best opportunity for recovery during what can be a long and gruelling rugby season.
Zach recently took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about all things rugby, recovery and handling the Covid pandemic. Asked first, how he would describe his rugby career, Zach gives the response you would expect from a tough competitor and seasoned professional:
“There’s plenty more to come!” he says. “I’ve decided to make the move to France because I’m keen to try a new environment and give myself a new challenge. Of course, it helps that the climate is a little warmer!
“I know it’s going to be a tough move for a number of reasons but I felt that at this point in my career I needed that new challenge in my life. After the ups and downs of Covid this felt like a perfect opportunity for me.”
Asked about the difficulties that the pandemic has caused for elite sport, Zach says,
“Over the last year it’s been very difficult as an athlete to handle some of the restrictions and uncertainty caused by Covid. I found that I coped best with it by setting myself a routine and a schedule so that I could always focus on achieving something positive by the end of each day. Even when it’s something as simple as cutting the grass, those little goals and jobs give you a sense of satisfaction.”
Known as being a light-hearted and fun character in the changing room but someone who gives their all on the rugby pitch, Zach will certainly be an asset to Montpellier and the incredibly physical French league next season. Understanding the physical demands of professional rugby and the toll it can take on the body is one of the key reasons that Zach says he wanted to take steps to improve the quality of his sleep and comfort at night:
“I like to invest in my recovery as it plays a massive part in prolonging your rugby career. And it allows you to play at the top level for much longer. Although I would say that I have been (touch wood) relatively free from injury in my career, I’ve still suffered a torn PCL in my knee and a broken scaphoid bone in my wrist.
“Focusing on rest, recovery and rehab is critical to getting the best out of yourself as a player on the pitch.”
As part of this focus on sleep, Zach says that he likes to be regimented with his sleep routine.
“I aim for 8 hours sleep a night and that means that I normally get to bed for 10pm and give myself enough time to recover from a game or prepare for one. I’m lucky that I tend to fall asleep straight away and am quite a deep sleeper, so I don’t waste much time tossing and turning. I absolutely love my new Mammoth mattress and it helps me to ensure I always reach my sleep target.
“If you don’t get that full night’s sleep it really makes you feel groggy the next day. Your body just doesn’t feel ready for a hard day’s training or match. Knowing what the impact of poor sleep can be is what convinces me that sleep is the most important aspect of recovery.
Of course, playing in elite sport often means travelling around and sometimes staying in hotels overnight when abroad or at the far end of the country. When he’s away from his Mammoth mattress, Zach has a secret weapon that helps him to get a sound night’s sleep:
“Lavender spray is a massive one for me, haha! But I also like to have the bedroom freezing cold . . . even though my girlfriend doesn’t agree with it.”
Asked where he first heard of Mammoth, Zach says, “Who hasn’t heard of Mammoth. They are massive in the sports industry and especially in rugby. Everyone I speak to about Mammoth says how amazing the products are and how it makes them feel amazing the next day. As someone who understands the value of investing in recovery, buying a Mammoth was a no-brainer.”
And finally, if he had to pick one player as the toughest he’s faced . . . “It has to be Tom Curry. He is just relentless.”
Discover the benefits of Mammoth for yourself by test driving in store today. Find your nearest retailer here.