IF there was ever any doubt about the hardiness of pro rugby players, an insight into Nic Groom’s personal life serves to confirm just how tough they are.

One of Groom’s favourite ways to spend time away from the rugby pitch is to go wild water swimming. The South African was a fan of the open water in his homeland, but his love for the pastime was set to be severely tested when he moved from the sunny climes of Johannesburg to Edinburgh this summer.

For most mere mortals, the change of continent would be enough to put a stop to any dips in the sea but Groom has been undeterred.

“It’s something I try and do wherever I am so I’ve been for a few swims out in Edinburgh and up to Loch Lomond,” the scrum-half revealed.

“I’ve been swimming in Portobello and Cramond and up to the Trossachs. I’ve not been over the winter yet but I’m dying to go. We have some time off in a couple of months and I haven’t been any further up than (the Trossachs) so that’s something I’m really looking forward to doing.”

Growing up in South Africa, Groom was known more as a swimmer than a rugby player. However, he ultimately chose rugby to be the route he took and after spending his early twenties playing for Western Province and Stormers in his homeland, he moved to Northampton Saints in 2016, where he spent two years. A year playing for Lions preceded his move to Edinburgh and he has already made an impact on the field, with the capital club having made an impressive start to the season with their most recent result a win over Wasps in the Challenge Cup last weekend.

His influence has stretched to off-field too though, with Groom persuading a few of his teammates of the benefits of immersing themselves in freezing cold water, although he has not persuaded any of them to come wild water swimming with him just yet.

“There are a few boys I have talked into doing hydrotherapy where we go between hot and cold baths,” said Groom.

“There is a good crew now doing it. Damien Hoyland is a fan of the cold. Jamie Farndale, Matt Scott like the hot and cold.

“We try and channel our inner Wim Hof who is a cold therapy guru. He hosts these ice bath parties. The theory is the real cold is supposed to clear your mind of everything and that survival instinct will kick in.”

Groom is convinced cold water therapy has helped him recover quicker from injuries and while he admits he cannot prove anything scientifically, he is in no doubt as the both the physical and mental benefits he gets from it.

“It’s a real cleansing thing to do,” the 29-year-old said.

“Being in the water, everything quietens down and the cold and other elements are there. There’s a lot of noise vying for our attention so I feel that you go out and just get into it. It doesn’t have to be long – I can assure you that it’s not long. But just getting in is good for the body.

“They put wild horses in the salt water so they can race the next day so there must be something in it.”

On the field, Groom’s attentions are fully focused on Edinburgh’s clash with Wasps on Saturday. The capital side defeated the English Premiership team 31-20 at Murrayfield on Friday, with reverse fixture on Saturday.

Groom admits his side were pleased with their performance but there are still things on which they can improve. And with Edinburgh’s confidence sky-high following their win last week, Groom is confident they can put on a real show at the Ricoh Arena this weekend.

“Maybe we saw glimpses of what we can do when we played them which was really encouraging. The great thing for us is that we played well and beat a top side,” he said.

“We are playing against a world class set of players who on their day can be really special. There is not much you can change in a couple of days. We need to rally together and keep an eye on their superstars and grind it out.

“We are playing away which is a challenge but we will take a lot of confidence from last week. We have two good training days and looking at areas where we want to improve on. How do we improve with the ball? How can we be more effective? If we have that frame of mind regardless who we are playing against we will be in a good position.”