Rugby Varsity build-up: meet the Bristol half backs
Ahead of the Varsity clash, Rugby captain Steffan Jones profiles his players. Now it’s time for the half backs…
The Half Backs
These are the guys that get the team ticking. The scrum-half (number 9) controls the forwards, and the fly-half (number 10) pulls the strings in the backs.
The lowdown: Having fluctuated from scrum-half to fly-half in the 2s last year, Milner has now settled at 9 and is a strong contender for a starting spot in this year’s Varsity.
He can always be depended on to turn up to training and games, but his contributions to UBRFC are strictly limited to pitch-related activities.
Off-field sightings of Milner are rare, adding fuel to many conspiracy theories about what he does in his spare time.
Nevertheless, his commitments to the team this season are faultless, and are made all the more impressive considering the departure of his sidekick James Kelway-Bamber for a year abroad in Russia. Milner will hope to live up to his nickname of Andy Goode against UWE on March 31st
Interesting fact: Milner takes sportsmanship seriously, almost too seriously. With the boys 1 point up against Cardiff, and time up on the clock, Milner decides against kicking the ball out of touch to end the game, opting to kick it back to Cardiff to give them one more attack to win and pushing coach Matt Salter one more step towards a heart attack.
What to expect: Good all-round play and a swift exit into the sunset once the final whistle is blown.
The lowdown: Fly-half Steve was the Man of the Match at last year’s varsity, and will be looking to emulate his heroics once more this time around.
Undoubtedly a big-game player, Steve gets through his allocation of wayward kicks in the privacy of Coombe Dingle on quiet Wednesday afternoons, but often pulls it out of the bag on the big occasions.
Stone Cold Steve (a nickname this author understands far too well), is a rarity in that he is a fly-half with a dangerous running game, often seen splitting defences with his turn of pace, and UWE will have to be on high alert when he gets the ball.
Interesting fact: Steve’s habit of being bowled over in defence has given rise to a “Steve Boatman Red Carpet Award” at socials, where the unfortunate ‘winners’ are required to consume a pint on their backs (Steve’s favourite tackling position).
Steve is also one half of the highest profile sports couple in Bristol, the university’s Posh and Becks, his other half being Netball 1st teamer Alex Rigby.
This is despite him spending most of their first meeting reading out an email from his dad telling him how good a kicker he is
What to expect: Slicing runs, unpredictable kicking and a sweet right hook.
The lowdown: Despite initially covering for injuries at the beginning of last season, George hasn’t looked back and has been a first-team regular ever since. Known in some quarters as the ‘baby-faced assassin’, George suffered a scare earlier in the season when a flailing knee from captain Conchie gave him a busted nose; but thankfully no lasting damage was suffered and George will be out in full force come varsity, freckles and all.
A scrum-half known for his energy around the pitch, Brown will be a vital player against UWE, ensuring the tempo is high – hopefully the catalyst for some champagne running rugby!
What to expect: Busy play all around the pitch, and permanently rolled-up sleeves.
The lowdown: Known as ‘Half-way Hamish’ to his friends, HH will hope he can go the whole way and ‘seal the deal’ to make the varsity squad after a late emergence from the 2nd team.
An exciting fly half, Hamish’s quick feet will be a constant worry for the UWE defense, just as his questionable chat and habit of dribbling after a few pints is a worry to unsuspecting girls at Bunker. No doubt Hamish will be a more than competent deputy to Boatman if called upon, although a Varsity appearance apparently isn’t a necessity for him, as apparently ‘girls just immediately see me as boyfriend material’.
But, if you’re thinking that this is the limit to Hamish’s skills, you are mistaken! He doesn’t hesitate in reminding everyone that he could ‘easily’ make the first team for hockey and football. Interesting
Interesting fact: At school, Hamish was ‘the 10, the big timer’ (his words) and at university he is a ‘medic big timer’ (his words again). And he apparently once smashed two glasses on his head on a night out. Boyfriend material indeed.