London Irish’s twice-capped winger tells us about the challenges of the season ahead.
How are things panning out at the moment?
I’m enjoying life at the club. The new sponsors on-board together and with the new, 63 acre Hazelwood training facility, there’s a definite renewed energy within the team. We have a break between pre-season and the start of the new one, so I’m keen to get on with the job ahead.
Was rugby always going to be your career choice?
I’m really enjoying my career at London Irish, although while still at school I wasn’t sure about rugby as a job. I thought it would be great to see how it panned out and, luckily, it’s been brilliant.
The early days are always a little unpredictable for most players. However, hard work gets you through the tough times.
What’s the competition like to get into Stuart Lancaster’s RWC squad?
It’s tremendous as everyone wants to be selected. The competition is rife, which is going to make for superb rugby in the coming months. I’m very pleased to be where I am at the moment. If your form stays good and you play consistently, both as an individual and as a team player, your chances of being selected are naturally that much better.
There’s a lot of guys out there who are making sure they are match fit and then some, because it’s such a huge honour to represent your country and doubly so since we are hosting the tournament in the UK.
What’s your greatest challenge during the season?
I think staying fresh throughout the season is a big challenge for a lot of players. You always pick up injuries that set you back, with even the most minor ones making it hard to maintain or recover fitness. It’s not only a taxing time physically, but mentally too.
These days, the game is played that much faster and therefore the risk of injury is greater, meaning a higher chance of having to cope with downtime, which nobody enjoys.
What advice do you have for other players?
I think it’s important to be involved with something away from the game in order to keep your feet on the ground. It also helps when it comes to deciding what you’d like to do with your life when you retire.
You currently have a testimonial year – what events are planned?
We have a golf day on 1st October at Foxhills Golf Club in Surrey, which promises to be a great event. I hope it will draw in the crowds, which I’m sure it will because it supports such great charities – namely Restart, VSO and the African Child Trust.