Felix, Callum and John are three of our star rugby players here at Bloxham. Felix gained a place in the Wasps Academy as an U16 having played throughout his years at School. In the 2022/23 season, he secured a place in the Wasps U18 and the Midlands Central Academy starting team, as well as being made a member of the RFU EAP programme. Felix captained the School 1st XV this year, securing a winning record and notable victories against MCS, St Edward’s Oxford and Rugby School. Despite only having joined Bloxham this academic year, John has secured a starting place in the Wasps U18 and later Midlands Central team, despite only being in the Lower Sixth. He has been a standout performer for both the School and Academy throughout the year. Callum has worked hard through Sixth Form to overcome a serious injury. This year he was a key feature in a successful 1st XV, gaining county honours. Callum performed to a high level in his county season and earned a place in the South West U18 team, a well-deserved reward for a very hard working player.

What’s your Favourite thing about playing rugby?

Felix: Definitely the team aspect – the fact that you can’t do well if only one person plays well. How you succeed is by everyone chipping in, playing together, and working with each other to succeed.

Callum: I agree. Playing as a team is one of the biggest things in rugby. To be successful, working together and running off each other is a really important part of the game.

John: Playing with your friends is great. Playing rugby is an amazing feeling which you can enjoy with them.

how do you prepare for a big game?

Felix: I try to keep it as normal as possible. I don’t change my routine as that would make me stressed. I always eat well the night before, get lots of rest and hydrate 24 hours prior to the game. Also, I do other things that take my mind off it, like playing games with mates and just having a normal evening, but I make sure I get in my rest, food and hydration.

Callum: Sleep is a really important factor. Also if we had a game recorded the week before, I might have a look at that and just see what I could improve on.

John: I like to think about the game the night before, because then you’re not overthinking it in the morning. I find that helps me stay in control of nerves.

Do you have any tips for managing nerves?

Felix: I get nervous but I’ve always got nervous. No matter how big the game is, I’ll still get nervous, even if it’s just a friendly. I read in Ant Middleton’s book that you should manage your nerves in fear bubbles, so if I say, ‘I’m allowed to be nervous when I’m walking out on the pitch before I’m about to play,’ that’s when you can be nervous but not before. It narrows down the nerves rather than them taking over.

Callum: I just put my nerves into my adrenaline and use that for the game. As soon as the whistle goes, those nerves are gone, so it’s just that little build up and then I get excited about it.

John: I enjoy being nervous sometimes because it shows that you care. It just makes me more motivated to play the game.

how has bloxham supported and encouraged you in developing your skills?

Felix: They’ve definitely had a big part in coaching but as well as that, for John and me working with Wasps, they’ve let the coaches come in in my free periods and in my spare time to give me one to one or two on one coaching. They’ve also come into my gym periods so they could give me specific coaching which has helped a lot.

Callum: I think doing extra sessions with Mr Sissons on strength and speed work has really helped me. Also, doing extra kicking sessions with Mr Lovering. Those little one to one sessions are really helpful when it comes to improving my game.

John: The school has helped me with my rugby definitely but it also supported me when I moved over from Cardiff. They really helped me get settled in. I only joined in September. It means I can now focus my time on my rugby and not be worried about getting settled.

do you have any particular highlights from any of your games at bloxham?

Felix: Winning at Rugby School away! That was such a good feeling because I don’t think we’d had a great lead up to that game, and then we managed to pull through and win that game away from home. It was just pretty cool.

Callum: I would agree! That was the best.

what do you like about being in sixth form?

Felix: The freedom you get. In Fifth Form, your study periods are much more structured but in Sixth Form, you get to make your own plan and train in your free periods. You have to work things out and be organised about when you’re going to train, when you’re going to work, when you’re going to eat and stuff like that. That makes me feel more ready for life outside of School. That extra bit of freedom prepares you more for uni and life after School. The two years of Sixth Form are more integrated than for example Fifth Form and Fourth Form, so it’s better for socialising.

Callum: I would agree on that. For quite a lot of people, having the freedom to structure your day is great. Making your own plan and timetable gets you ready for uni. The social side is different too. You can come into the White Lion and get a coffee with your mates and that kind of thing.

John: I enjoy the responsibility of it. It’s different having to look after yourself and I enjoy having that.

what are your plans for after you leave schooL?

Felix: I’m going straight to uni. Hopefully, if I get the grades, to Loughborough, because that’s where Leicester said they’d look at me after the first year. I haven’t got a set plan for the summer but I hope to go abroad and play rugby somewhere. I want to study engineering at uni.

Callum: My plans are to have a gap year first, going to New Zealand, working and travelling out there and then going over to see family and friends in Australia. I’ll then possibly do a degree apprenticeship or go to uni.

John: I’ve got one more year at School still, but if I can get a contract next year, I would take a year out before uni and play for them. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll go straight to university. I want to do economics or sports science. I like to keep a balance between my academics and rugby.