What is your role in UEA Rugby?
I am President of the club. I essentially manage the club and my fellow committee members.
What are your ambitions for UEA Rugby this academic year?
Over the past year and going into the next, we have been pushing serious performance. This includes a greater emphasis on strength and conditioning, providing more prescriptive training and introducing video game analysis for our first team. Our goal for the year is first team promotion and a strong recorded performance across our two other BUCS squads.
What are the social aspects of Rugby that you are looking forward to most this year?
Whilst we managed well over zoom, nothing compares to an in person social. As a club, we love a whole club pre-drinks followed by a big sports night. Aside from nights out, I’m looking forward to spending more time together as a club on and off the pitch.
What are the potential challenges that you see for UEA Rugby going forward?
The pandemic arguably hit us hardest as a sport. As the sport requires a lot of close contact, the rules prevented us from competing for over a year. With a long time out of the sport and out of the gym, it will take some time to rebuild the standard the club once played at. Therefore, we are pushing players harder to practise their skills and improve their fitness outside of training hours to accelerate performance across the squads.
How would you encourage students to join Rugby at UEA?
We push performance and want players to play at their best, but we do accept all abilities. We want to give everyone in the UEARFC family the opportunity to thrive and have their efforts recognised. At the end of the day, regardless of what team you play for, you will socialise together. Ones players and threes players will be far off in rugby ability but are equal as people. This is an ethos I discovered early on when joining the club and something I really want to ensure the club carries forward, no matter how distant in ability our teams could eventually become.
In terms of BUCS this year, how does it work for Rugby and how many teams do you have?
In the club, we have threeBUCS teams each made of 23 players. The first team is made of the very best players in the club and the subsequent teams are comprised of those in development, striving to make it into our first fifteen. No player is fixed into a team, and we do a complete evaluation every three weeks to ensure we are giving all players a fair chance to play the level of rugby they deserve. If players don’t make any of our BUCS sides, there is still an opportunity to play for our Trojans team on a Saturday against local teams such as Norwich.
What is your earliest and/or favourite sporting memory?
One of my earliest memories was a double milkshake. For those that aren’t aware, if a game is won, we celebrate in a huddle and sing the classic song “Milkshake” by Kelis. On one occasion, both the twos and threes played at home and won simultaneously. To celebrate, we completed a milkshake with 46 players as opposed to the normal 23. Safe to say it was a messy night in blue bar.
Who are your sporting heroes and why?
Michael Jordan is a big hero of mine. I’m not the biggest basketball fan out there but I’m fascinated by his drive and the high standard he always demands from his teammates, but more importantly himself. I strongly believe above most, it’s essential to always strive for greatness and to put everything you have into something when you say you will. The fact that most don’t, often means that you will come out above the rest if you choose to hold yourself accountable to those high standards.
If you could have competed at Olympic level in anything, which would be your dream sport?
It would be very easy to say rugby 7s as I do really enjoy the sport but outside of rugby, I’m an avid sailor and competing at an Olympic level would be a dream come true. Similar to rugby, there’s a lot out of your control that is often unpredictable. The result of either sport simply depends on how well you face up to those challenges.