Rugby Director Corne du Rand caught up with former academy prop, Sam Nixon, and discussed using Scottish as a stepping stone for his fledgling rugby career, and found out where he is in his rugby journey!
1. You are currently at Bath and clearly making progress as a young prop. How has the season been so far in terms of environment, personal development & learning and what have been some of the highlights so far for you?
“This season has been a special one so far, I’ve learnt a lot from the older guys as well as competing with them . The environment is unbelievable, it’s not every day you can train with the calibre of players like we have at the club. My highlights so far was making my senior debut then shortly after, making my champions cup debut.”
2. You were at Millfield school with Alec Coombes? What year was that and how was your final year there in terms of rugby?
“Me and Alec had a amazing time at Millfield, I was there form 2012-14 . Alec was there before me. The last year of school there saw us lift the school team of the year and saw Alec play a big role in winning the Roslyn park 7s trophy. It pushed us both and others to head towards professional rugby.”
3. You came to London Scottish after school, driving from the farm in Yeovil to Richmond three times a week. Why did you join Scottish back then?
“I had a thought that I wanted to see how far up the pyramid I could climb in professional rugby. I would travel after work on the farm to Richmond for training. The reason I chose Scottish was that it had a long rich history and a few other Millfield players were there, Alec included. I did it also because I knew I could be a part of a good club.”
4. How long did you spend here at Scottish and what part did it play in your development?
“I spent 2 seasons at the club, in which the first year I was totally with the Academy. In my 2nd season I was fortunate enough to be able to train full time with the 1st team which kick started my career. Learning off some good front rowers. But also playing regularly in the Academy games and Highlanders side.”
5. What are your favourite memories from your time here?
“My favourite memory by far was when we lifted the cup after beating Richmond in the hotly contested New Year’s Eve fixture. It was even better to captain that group when we won it . Also the trip to jersey for our league fixture with the Academy and Highlanders”
6. After Scottish you made yourself known in National 1. Tell us a bit more?
“It all came down to game time, which lead me to move to Plymouth Albion, A National 1 side that had only recently left the Championship. I had a very good season playing with some very good players and we finished 2nd in the league with a fairly new squad. Our pack was very strong for that league and that experience was invaluable for me as a prop.”
7. Bath signed you from your performances with Plymouth. Where do you feel you are now in your journey and where do you want to get to?
“This time last year I was approached by Bath and they offered me a place. I instantly developed and was sent back on loan to Plymouth, as well as training with the 1st XV and playing in the A league. I feel I’ve come a long way since I arrived, but I’m on a good path to hopefully make my Prem debut by the end of this year and hopefully become a regular starter in time to come.”
8. What do you think of rugby in the Championship and do you think it provides a good platform for players to cut their teeth and potentially move up?
“The standard of players in the Championship is very good. Especially some of the forwards that wouldn’t look out of place in the Prem. After recently going on loan to Rotherham Titans, I learnt a lot in a short space of time. I came back to the Bath squad twice the player I was, before I went on loan. It’s a tough league to crack.”
9. What advice would you have for players that are not in Premiership academy systems?
“I would say looking back from experience, that hard work and leaving nothing to chance will get you to the top. I’ve had loads of setbacks in my career but I carried on and enjoyed my rugby regardless. That pushes you through hard times.”
10. What is your favourite past time and why?
“Favourite past time is meeting up with mates over a coffee and cake. I love a good reminisce.”
11. On social media you use a few hashtags quite regularly. Can you give us insight on some of them and what these mean to you?
“#ThanksForComing and #kneesBoy are the 2 I use the most. ‘Knees Boy’ is the one we all use to say during scrum sessions at Scottish and I’ve carried on saying it.”
“I couldn’t have developed and carried on my journey with Scottish without the help of the Front Row Union’s contribution, helping me in my first year, and Corne du Rand and the Club helping me in the two years I spent at Scottish. #ThanksForComing”
Everyone at London Scottish wishes Sam all the success in the world and we will continue following his progress. The club is extremely proud of what he has managed to achieve this far!