How did you get involved as a first-year?
I was just really lucky. They needed 9s – the previous captain had been a 9 and had left. A coach of mine from home sent some details about me across and then they invited me to preseason from there. There was a whole lot of luck.
Was it odd being younger than so many of the team?
Most were a lot older. When I first came in I kept very quiet and didn’t push myself forward – I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. Regardless of age though that first term’s all about building a team. The older boys have a responsibility to make you feel welcome.
And now you’re established?
I have that responsibility myself. It’s completely different, and more challenging. I’m one of the few remaining Blues from last year, and having to help much older guys is a bit odd. But age is irrelevant – we’re all playing the same sport.
How’s the social side of things?
Ruby is a funny sport, it definitely brings people together. It’s a battle – you’d do anything for your teammates on or off the pitch. Off the pitch is great fun. I consider the mates last year some of the best of my life. We’ll always have that Varsity match.
Moving on to that match then, it must have been quite the experience?
I took it all in my stride, funnily enough. We prepared so much for it that it turned out to be the only game I wasn’t nervous for that season. JC, the captain, took me aside and said to ignore the crowd, ignore the cameras and just focus on the green pitch. I remember being next to Cambridge in the tunnel – they were bouncing up and down and we were stone cold. I distinctly remember thinking then, “We’ve got this.” No nerves. That was odd.
What’s the support like at the club?
Well I’m going sown at 5 today for a massage, free of charge. We have an unbelievable physio too. That’s great. They do look after you. We still pay our way though, with subs and having to get player sponsorship.
How has playing affected the rest of your life?
Academically I’m set for a solid 2:2. Other than that we’ll see. Because I’ve got such a good group of mates at the rugby club it’s a hard balance socially. It’s too easy to just go out with your rugby mates sometimes I’ve found. But I make a conscious effort to keep the balance and when that works it’s great – you’ve got two really good sets of friends.
Thoughts for the future?
All I’ve got to think about is playing well and getting in the team.