I started playing rugby when I was about 4 or 5 when my dad took me down to our local club. Since then I’ve never really looked back to be honest, I played pretty much any sport growing up but rugby was the most constant.
I moved school in year 8 to Barnard Castle and it was there where I was picked up by the Newcastle Falcons Academy aged 15.
I continued training at school and with the academy, and then at 18 I signed a contract to go full time with the 1st team, and i’m still here today, enjoying it as much as ever.
Earning my first England age group cap at under 16 level against Wales
Talk us through your weekly schedule…
If we have a game on Saturday our weekly schedule usually starts with a Monday morning meeting about the previous game, one meeting as a team and then separate meeting as forwards and backs.
After the meeting we walk through any little detail changes we think we need to clear up, then its recovery time with food and massages.
Tuesday is the high intensity day where we will do a weights session and two field sessions, the first session we separate into backs and forwards and concentrate on what we need to achieve as a unit and our second session is a team session, usually with a fair bit of contact and a lot of running.
Wednesday is our day to relax and recover from the day before, so some of us head to our gym and get in the pool or Jacuzzi.
Thursday is what we called a moderate intensity day where we have a gym session and one field session that contains pretty much no contact and a little less running.
Friday is a simple team run where we practice some of the plays we want to take into the game the next day. It’s a very short, sharp, high intensity session that lasts no more than 30 mins.
Saturday is game day and Sunday is a day off with some recovery involved.
Talk us through your diet. What do you eat? why? and how does this effect your performance and recovery?
I like to eat a lot of chicken. It’s simple, easy to cook and tastes pretty good no matter what sauce you have with it. I eat a lot of rice because, once again, it’s very easy to cook and i’m not the heaviest guy so I need to keep my carbs in there to keep my weight on and the energy high.
The last thing you want to do when training a lot is have no energy through cutting out carbs, as it can lead to lower muscle function and increase in injury risk.
As a professional rugby player, which foods are essential in your diet?
Chicken, turkey, pasta , rice and avocado.
Why are these foods essential?
These food are essential for me because it means I have a good balance of protein, carbs and fats.
They allow my body to recover from training and also refuel the energy stores that have been depleted from running around and tackling guys a lot bigger than I am.
If you’ve had an over indulgent summer and you want to get fit and ready for the new season, what do you do? How do you change your diet?
If I’ve had a big summer, the first thing I do is get back into the gym. I start trying to get back into good habits with lifting weights and running. Of course along with that I alter my diet, so that if I’ve put a little bit too much fat on, ill drop my carbs a little and up my fats and protein, still keeping carbs in there but almost always around training times.
When you’re injured how do you adjust your diet to prevent weight gain?
Big thing when your injured is adjusting your portion sizes. If you tend to eat exactly the same amount as you did when you were training with the team that’s when you gain weight. so I adjust my portions, and again, base all my carbs around my training times – very similar to my off season training.
Finally…..who’ll win the world cup?
I’d like to think England can on their home patch!