When did you start playing rugby?
I started playing for the Under 6s at Havant. My brother played there, so I went along too.
When did you start playing for London Irish?
When I was 13 or 14.
How do you balance training sessions and matches with your academic work?
In the Winter Term, we’re playing all week, and even in the holidays we have quite a lot of training and matches at London Irish. So you’ve got to have a schedule and set a timetable to balance it all out. For example I’ll work in the evening if I’ve been training all day, or I’ll revise on the journey to matches. As I train on a Monday at London Irish, I like to get all my work done before, so I’m not behind on Tuesday. Playing a lot of rugby has really taught me to plan.
How does the training team at Seaford help you?
Mr Bowden is experienced, which really helps. Mr Green is a good mentor when we’re playing the game. He had a really good temperament when he played, and he really helps us to keep our heads and to keep our cool. You don’t want to get carried away in rugby.
What are your highlights from your time playing at Seaford?
Beating Christ’s Hospital 35-10.
What are your aspirations for the future?
Both Matt [Kouris] and I would like to get contracts to play professionally. I’d like to make London Irish and get into the England squad. We’re both in the U18 side at London Irish, so if we play well, we should get a contract. At the end of next year we find out if we’ve got contracts, and if we’re successful, we’d be training with the 1st team, playing for the 2nd team. I’d like to do a business management degree as well, just so I have something to fall back to. You never know when you’re going to get injured in rugby.
What would be your top tips for other pupils hoping to follow in your path?
Never aim too high. Go for it and train hard. Try and get opportunities, contact your coaches, get feedback on what you need to improve on. You have to expect setbacks and bounce back harder; there are always going to be opportunities. It is a hard pathway: lots of people are fighting for the same thing. You’ve got to be vigorous.
What else have you gained from playing rugby?
I’ve made really good friendships. In rugby we have a type of camaraderie that is different from other sports. After the game, we hug and congratulate our opposite number. You just don’t get that in football, and we learn that from our coaches.