I made my first ‘switch’ between professional rugby clubs in the summer 2011. Having been at Sale Sharks for seven seasons, you can imagine I felt like I was stepping into the unknown and leaving behind my ‘comforts’ moving up to Edinburgh rugby! From missing my favourite coffee shops, to missing seeing my family most weekends I wasn’t sure how easy the transition was going to be.
However, my time in Edinburgh couldn’t have surprised me more. The move has rewarded me with lots of game time and some amazing experiences on the field. The highlight being the Heineken Cup run to the semi-finals in my first season with the club, including the quarter final in front of a club record crowd of 37,000 fans! Off the field I have also had the chance to dabble in a secret passion of mine, property development. I completed a full renovation of a grade II listed apartment within the heart of the city, which along with getting married at the same time, definitely made Edinburgh feel like home. I am very thankful for the opportunity given to me by Edinburgh Rugby three years ago and hope I have gone someway to repaying the club on the field.
However, three years later, I am now due to make my second move to London Irish this summer! Although I am much more relaxed this time around, having been through the process before, ‘starting again’ within a new environment is both daunting and exciting in near equal measure! However, if I have learnt anything from my first move, it’s to look forward, as there’s guaranteed to be some adventures on the way!
With the upcoming move back into the Premiership, I feel I am returning a better player and a much more rounded professional. I have had the opportunity to captain Edinburgh Rugby on numerous occasions which is invaluable experience for me moving forward. I am incredibly excited about the challenges that lie ahead on the field and am looking forward to meeting the lads and getting stuck into pre season at my new club.
With Red Sky being based in Edinburgh, my time north of the border has enabled me to work closely with them on my double career track, keeping half an eye on ‘life after rugby’ – a real job! Knowing that my second career is ticking over in the background, allows me too focus on being a better professional rugby player, without having to worry about what comes next. This peace of mind can only help me as I plan too make my ‘capital switch’.