Years ago, I was at a point where I hardly knew the basic rules of rugby. I am still not the best at it, but since coming to UEA, I feel like I have improved a lot. For the past two years, UEA Rugby was always a sports team that I was curious about. I have read a lot of articles and stories about them and always wanted to know more about their team dynamics and how they were handling the problems they faced over the years.
I had a chance to have a chat with the Rugby President, Fraser Harrop, to discuss people’s views towards the club, its plans for the future, and the documentary they released last year.
From the beginning of our interview, it was possible to feel Fraser’s passion for rugby. And I think it affected our chat in a positive way. So if you want to get to know the UEA Rugby team or just want to learn more about their future plans, then read on…
What are you hoping to achieve for the club as a whole this year?
This year the club hopes to raise its university profile, and work toward joining football as an elite sport under the new UEA Sport initiative. Hopefully the club will continue to perform on the pitch and maintain its clean record off it.
How do you feel about your performance this year so far? How is the season going?
All three BUCS teams have made a blistering start to the 2018/19 season. After a total of nine games across all teams, the club has earned seven wins, one draw and one loss. The 1XV, after promotion last year, remain unbeaten after three matches and have so far conceded fewer points than every other team in their league.
Over the past years, UEA Men’s Rugby has been through some hard times, first being banned from playing for 18 months (2012) and then being banned from socials unless being supervised (2017). Do you think these events still shape the majority of people’s views towards Rugby people?
I sincerely hope that the typical student does not judge the club or its members based on past bans. It is often forgotten that club members who were involved in the 2012 ban do not currently attend the university, and haven’t done so for a number of years. It is also common knowledge amongst the other university sports teams that the Rugby Club was not happy with the nature of its investigation last year. The club has now established what it hopes to be a very strong working relationship with UEA Sport, which will allow the club to flourish and reach its full potential.
Last year, you released a documentary focusing on the reputation of Men’s Rugby. Do you think this documentary helped change people’s negative views on UEA’s Rugby players/Club?
The original aim of the documentary was to provide staff and students with an insider’s view of the Rugby Club’s activities. It was only after the eruption of allegations regarding the club’s social activities that I decided to angle the film toward the club’s reputation, and the feelings of both frustration, and yet solidarity, within the club. As for whether the documentary helped salvage the club’s reputation, I would have to answer not necessarily. Although relationships with UEA Sport and the SU have certainly improved, it is impossible to say whether this was influenced by the documentary – though I certainly hope so. I would encourage anyone with a cynical view of the Rugby Club to watch the film, and recognise that we are a truly approachable and inclusive group of players.
You directed the documentary. Can you explain the filming process?
This was my first attempt at shooting a documentary film. I sustained a long term leg injury, and felt that my time could be put to better use than merely spectating, so I invested in some camera and sound equipment, and set to work filming training sessions, matches, team talks, and one-to-one player interviews. As you can imagine, interviewing one’s friends can be somewhat awkward at first, but once the players learned to overcome nerves in front of the camera, we had some extremely productive and interesting conversations. After collecting footage for over six months, I set to work teaching myself the editing process. This was extremely time-consuming, but I was keen to distribute the final product.
Are you planning to do a similar video this year?
Yes, there will be another film this year, focusing less on the club’s reputation on campus, and more on the importance of friendship in sport, and its role in the club’s pursuit of reclaiming the Derby Day title.
Lastly, are you planning any interesting socials this year? Do you have any plans to collaborate with other societies or sports clubs?
It’s no secret that the Rugby Club has the busiest social calendar of all. We are in the process of organising joint socials with Netball, Cheerleading and Women’s Rugby, and are looking forward to our upcoming social with the Hockey Club in the next fortnight. We are always open to collaboration suggestions, so if any societies want to get in touch, contact us through our social media pages!


Follow Concrete on Twitter to stay up to date


What do you think?