Case Study: Phillip Dollman, Professional Rugby Player

Phillip Dollman

Exeter Chiefs star Phillip Dollman has made a career out of putting his body on the line out on the rugby field. The Welsh professional – who can play pretty much anywhere along the back line – loves his sleep as much as anyone, which is why he recently upgraded to a Mammoth.

We caught up with Phill to chat about everything from torn adductors and boisterous kids to being star-struck and having late-night chats with JFK.


Hi Phill, what made you decide to become a rugby player?

Being born and brought up in Wales kind of instils rugby in your DNA. A lot of youngsters in Wales dream of playing for their country and as a job and I was no different.

Luckily I had a great deal of support, especially from my parents, and I’ve strived to be a rugby player for as long as I can remember.


If you had to describe your rugby career in three words, what would they be?

Exciting, Enjoyable and Demanding


How would your rugby teammates describe you?

Hopefully as a down to earth and jovial kind of guy, most days. I enjoy what I do and I hope that it comes across when I’m with the guys and at training or playing.


What would class as your proudest moment – either in sport or outside of it?

Rugby-wise, I think being shortlisted last year along with Dave Ewers and Ben Moon for the “Player’s Player of the Year Award” at Exeter Chiefs. That was a very proud moment for me. It certainly meant a lot to me – more even than wining medals or games, to get that recognition from your peers.


If you weren’t playing rugby, what job do you think you’d be doing?

I would probably be using my degree and other qualifications in some kind of teaching and coaching role ideally within a school or college environment.


Do you ever get star-struck – if so, who has left the greatest impression on you?

Very much so. In my first year as a professional rugby player, I was very lucky to play alongside some big Welsh internationals. All of a sudden training and playing alongside, Colin Charvis, Kevin Morgan, Gareth Cooper and Ceri Sweeney among others was strange.

Michael Owen was current Wales captain and left a lasting impression on me. We shared a room on one of my first trips away, and made a huge effort to show interest in little old me. He made me feel very comfortable and important.


What’s the most embarrassing moment you can share?

Being caught on TV last year after winning the LV Cup final, performing what can only be described as dad dancing while celebrating after the final whistle.


What does your typical fitness regime involve?

We’re very lucky to have an enthusiastic and thorough conditioning team at Exeter Chiefs. A lot of our fitness training is done through rugby games, which I find suits me to the ground. We’re typically in the gym 3 to 4 times a week working on strength and power conditioning.

In the season this is all monitored alongside game time and injuries, however, during the pre-season months the training will intensify a fair bit.


Can you tell us what you are looking forward to in the next 12 months and your hopes for Exeter?Phillip Dollman

There’s a very big 12 months ahead for Exeter as a club and a city. As a team we obviously want to finish as well as possible in the Premiership and be involved in big end of season games to contend for trophies. Hopefully we will also succeed in increasing the interest and support for rugby in the area, especially leading into a home World Cup with games coming to the South West.


Can we talk about injuries for a minute? Mammoth mattresses are known for their health benefits, particularly for people recovering from injury or taking preventative steps to maintain condition. Have you suffered any injuries during your career?

I’ve suffered plenty of injuries in my career, which I suppose is the nature of the game.

Currently I’m rehabbing and recovering from an adductor tear, which has finished my season. But I’ve been fortunate with injuries and thanks to our
physio team I’ve managed to fully recover from all of my previous injuries.


What’s the worst injury you’ve seen someone suffer whilst playing rugby

It’s always tough seeing someone break a bone, but I’ve seen a few dislocated ankles with broken legs at the same time when the foot faces the wrong way. Leaves a lasting imprint on your mind!


Would you consider rest time and recovery an important part of your training regime?

Rest and recovery are essential as part of our conditioning and performance. We are encouraged to let the body and mind rest properly with the right amounts of sleep and downtime whenever we are away from the rugby field
Right. Now on to the important stuff – sleep. How many hours of sleep do you aim for a night? And do you usually reach your target?

An ideal amount for me is around 8 hours. I have a young family who tend to take turns interrupting mine and my wife’s sleep patterns, so getting that 8 hours isn’t always easy.


What impact does it have on you if you feel you’ve not had a good night’s sleep?

I do feel the effects of lack of sleep as well as lack of quality sleep. Sometimes feeling lethargic and slow. My Mammoth mattress seems to be helping massively with my quality of sleep, though.


What kind of a sleeper are you? Perhaps a light and restless sleeper, or do you sleep like a log, as the saying goes?

I tend to sleep like a log, often annoying the wife, who tends to wake with any noise made from the kids at night.


You must tour a lot as part of your job. What would you say is a “must-have” to ensure a good night’s sleep away from home?

Obviously a good mattress makes a difference but also pillow quality is big for me. I like to take my own pillow to away trips (when I remember to) and that helps me to get good sleep.


Do you have an optimum environment to sleep in – e.g. warm and cosy, cool and clean? 

Cool and clean, I hate being too hot in bed.


What is your typical bedtime routine? Do you like to relax in bed with a DVD? Read a book or magazine? Or is it straight to bed and lights out after you’ve brushed your teeth? 

Straight to bed and lights out for me, sometime as soon as my head hits the pillow, the bed is for sleeping in . . . mainly.


How did you find out about Mammoth mattresses?

Through The Rugby Players Association website and word of mouth from other players.


What attracted you to Mammoth in the first place? 

I think word of mouth first attracted me to the product. Then once I had sampled a mattress at a furniture store I was completely sold.

If you could have a (purely platonic) late night chat with anyone, dead or alive, who’d be worth losing sleep over – and why?

JFK. I would imagine he had some great stories both political and not so political. I would love to try and have an insight into who or what he had riled up or not conformed with that led to his assassination. Or was it the will of one person?


Thanks for your time, Phill. And good luck with the rehabilitation ahead of next season.


Phillip Dollman sleeps on a Mammoth Performance Supersoft supplied by Prestige Furniture in Exeter

courtesy of Exeter Rugby Club/Pinnacle Photo Agency