A day in the life of a Rugby Scholar

The recent NTU Rugby Partnership with Nottingham Rugby has created more opportunities than ever before for our most talented players. Here we talk to Scholars Alfie Molloy and Jacob Knight to find out what it's like to be a student and an athlete.

NTU offers a Sport Scholarship programme that provides an environment in which talented student athletes can achieve academic and sporting success while studying at the University. It combines high quality performance support services with outstanding facilities that enable the support of elite athletes from a range of sports. Here we talk to Scholars Alfie Molloy and Jacob Knight to find out what it's like to be a student and an athlete.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Alfie: Currently, due to injury, my day consists of weight training at 8 am followed by fitness at 9.30 then into team meetings at 11.30. I then have a regular physiotherapy session to aid my recovery and another weights session at 3 pm During term-time, depending on my timetable I may have to attend lectures or seminars in my breaks from training. Often the University helps me catch up if I have to miss a lecture. My coach also has an understanding of my commitments to my studies and releases me from training if necessary.

Jacob: A typical day for me, during pre-season, would be an early gym session at Nottingham Rugby Club, I would then come back and have breakfast before going in for a team meeting where we discuss the previous game and look ahead to the next fixture. This is followed by a rugby session where we are divided into our areas, such as forwards and backs, and we work on skills and set plays. After Nottingham training I will sometimes go to David Lloyd's leisure to do active and pool recoveries.

What was your first memory of playing rugby?

Alfie: My first memory was when I was playing in an under 11's team and we won the Surrey A Cup.

Jacob: My first memory was playing for Havant RFC in a junior festival and winning the player of the tournament award.

What are the benefits of being an NTU Sport Scholar?

Alfie: We get one-to-one help balancing our timetables which helps to balance both our degrees and sporting commitment. We also get to attend nutrition workshops which are very helpful! We also have the opportunity to meet regularly with our High Performance Sport Officer and the Head of Rugby, to discuss any problems or developments. Through our scholarship we also receive free gym memberships, club fees are paid for and we get some free kit!

Jacob: Being a sport scholar allows me to study alongside developing as a rugby player. It means I can get access to the correct physiotherapy and strength and conditioning support to be at the top of my game.

How did you first get into Rugby and how have you improved so much over the years?

Alfie: I first got into rugby through one of my dad's friends. He was coaching down at the local club and encouraged me to come down and try it out. I've never looked back since. I've gotten to the level I'm at now from practicing and training as much as I could. I've pushed myself to work hard to get better and work on my weaknesses.

Jacob: I first got into rugby after I watched my brother play. I used to play a lot of football but after I tried out rugby I was hooked! I improved the most through playing in the London Irish Academy, like at NTU they gave me support with my studies, whilst encouraging me to play at the highest standard I could! Without that opportunity I wouldn't have made it as far as I have.

Have you found it challenging to manage the balance of studying and training?

Alfie: I found my first year particularly challenging. It involves lots of catching up on what you've missed and also a lot of forward planning in order to make sure you have work done in time for deadlines.

Jacob: It is challenging as I want my studies and rugby to both be priority, however my scholarship allows me to have leeway with my studies in order to accommodate for my rugby.

What challenges do you expect to face over the forthcoming year?

Alfie: Staying fit is the first, due to recently having knee surgery, my first challenge is to get back on the field as soon as possible. After that I am aiming to get back into the match squad and on the field for NTU as well. After that I believe a challenge will be just getting the balance right of attending seminars and lectures and also being at training. The key is communication so that everyone knows the situation. Last year I found it tough when I was selected for weekend away games that were as far as jersey or Cornwall as it sometimes clashed with deadlines. It just meant I had to be organised and plan ahead so that it wasn't a problem.

Jacob: Last year's challenges were mainly just getting a consistent balance of both rugby and studies, which I probably didn't do very well. I'm hoping to get better at it this year. Second year work gets more demanding and so I think studies will become more of a challenge to complete as well as maintaining my training and pushing myself that extra mile.

How would you like your career to progress over the coming years? In five to ten years' time how do you want to see yourself?

Alfie: Firstly I'd like to be in the top 13 players For Nottingham Ruby Team and to help NTU with promotion to the highest league in BUCS. I'd also like to graduate with a 1st class degree and be looking to play in the Premiership and making a living from playing Rugby. Some cup and league medals would be nice as well!

Jacob: To be playing at the highest possible level and enjoying it!

Our scholars have a big year ahead of them both on and off the field. To see what the Scholars are up to, and to find out how you can go along to support them, check out our news and events pages for match reports, games and announcements.

Photo Courtesy of Alison Bowden Photography

A day in the life of a Rugby Scholar

Published on 6 October 2014
  • Category: Sport

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