After a nail biting end to the 2012/13 season Jersey Rugby Football Club (JRFC) are about to embark on their third season playing in the Greene King IPA Championship, the second tier of English Rugby Union. The game as a whole has changed a great deal over the years, as have the faces that play for JRFC, this years squad captain being just one of them.
Alex Rae moved to the Island in the summer of 2013 after formerly playing for Bedford, London Wasps, Northampton Saints and Saracens. Last season he missed just one of Jersey’s 23 Championship fixtures, as well as playing in the British & Irish Cup on four occasions and in the mighty Siam Cup.
He’s been announced as head coach Harvey Biljon’s choice for Captain for the second season running. Alex not only brings good pedigree to the game z is a great ambassador for the sport, read on to hear what he has to say about the forthcoming season and why football’s loss was rugby’s gain.
Name: Alex Rae.
Sport: Rugby union.
Position on the pitch: lock/backrow
School attended: Coundon Court school (a school in Coventry)..
Favourite ice cream: It has to be Ben and Jerry’s – Baked Alaska.
Favourite animal: Gorilla.
Favourite food: BBQ food (we assume this is all about the protein?! – Ed).
How many calories do you consume in an average day: Around 2500-3000 calories, but this depends on the level of the training day etc.
What would you wear to a fancy dress party: I’m a big fan of fancy dress, so it would all depend on the theme, but for me it’s all about the extra effort and small details.
Favourite rugby expression: ‘’What goes on tour, stays on tour!’’
Favourite thing about Jersey: It has to be the beaches.
Favourite song: The Killers – Mr Brightside.
When did you start playing rugby: Year 7 at school. The only reason I did was because they didn’t have a football team, so I had no choice.
Favourite place to play rugby in the world: Hong Kong.
Do you have a pre-match superstition:
I always put my right sock and boot on first.
Where and when was the favourite moment in your career, so far: Making my Premiership Rugby debut at 19 for Northampton Saints at Welford Road, against Leicester Tigers.
How can people get involved in rugby in Jersey: Jersey Rugby Club will be a good starting point! The academy has kids teams up to the age of 16 training up at the club every Sunday. Or of course there’s senior teams throughout the club and the rest of the island, to suit all different levels.
This is your second season as Captain, how do I feel about leading the team out: It’s a huge honour to be asked to do it again. I learnt a lot about myself last year under tough circumstances and this season both me and the team just want to make the island proud of Jersey Rugby Club.
What are the team’s goals for the season: To grow as a group and have a clear identity. It’s very much a cliché, but we’re really not looking too far ahead at this point. It’s such a tough league that you really do have to take each game as it comes and constantly change your goals.
How’s pre season training been: It’s been tough, but enjoyable at the same time, although there have been moments on the sand dunes… which weren’t so enjoyable. There’s been lots of sessions in the gym, conditioning and ball skills. We’ve been in six days a week, in three week blocks with a few days off in between.
If you weren’t playing rugby what would you be doing: I really have no idea, it’s all I’ve done since I was 17. As you get older you do worry about life after rugby but I’m a big believer in, what will be, will be.
Top tip for aspiring sports people: The biggest thing at whatever level and age you are, is you must enjoy whatever you’re doing. Talent will take you so far but then you have to be prepared to work harder and make greater sacrifices than other people.