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By Scottish Varsity, Sep 14 2018 09:19AM

Bruno Smith

3rd Year, Chemistry, Edinburgh

Bruno Smith talks about his experience of being on the losing and winning side of Varsity

Juggling Sports

"I began playing rugby when I was 5 years old, my father took me down to my local rugby club to get involved in mini’s tag. I then got involved with school rugby and from there my interest in the sport really accelerated and I ended up playing for the Newcastle falcons from 15-18 years old.

My real interest in sports in general began when watching the 2003 world cup final at home with my brother and dad, seeing England win it just ignited my interest in rugby. It helped me that my older sisters and parents are all keen on various sports so from a young age I was exposed to different sports and encouraged to take part in as many as I possibly could juggle.

In my younger years I was also very keen on gymnastics and football as well as rugby but at the age of 13 I had to choose which sport out the three I wished to prioritize. At that age rugby was arguably not my strongest sport however I chose to make it my priority as I enjoyed playing it the most and the fact I could play it all the time with my friends was so appealing to me.

As far as my rugby ambitions are concerned I used to strive to be a professional during school, building my game on the likes of Danny Care and Will Genia, but now I just enjoy playing a good standard of uni rugby with my friends and remaining competitive."

An amazing experience

"Winning varsity this year again would be an amazing start to the rugby season, which promises to be a long, gruelling one. Winning varsity last year was up there for me as one of my favourite rugby moments of my life as being able to break the 5 year drought emphatically with such a big crowd was amazing especially after the disappointment of playing in the match the year before."

By Scottish Varsity, Sep 14 2018 09:17AM

Joe Stainer

2nd Year, Geography, Edinburgh

Joe Stainer, a 2nd year Geography student talks about this ambition to play under the lights at BT Murrayfield

"Rugby first began for me in the U7’s at the notorious Clifton RFC. I’ve always loved a good run about and rugby gave me that chance to let loose away from the primary school classroom.

Although playing rugby at school throughout, unfortunate genes halted my growth which paved more success on the hockey field. Nevertheless, rugby always stood as my favourite sport, and this is why I made the choice to play at Edinburgh.

The sport has brought many great memories throughout my life, in particular Bristol Grammar vs Blundells in 2012, a fine day where not even Arthur Friend could break through our mighty defensive line on that crisp autumn afternoon.

Looking into the future, my personal ambitions within Rugby at Edinburgh are to play Scottish Varsity and also to make selection for Scottish Students.

Watching varsity last year at Murrayfield was an incredible experience as a fresher, even just being a part of the support so to be given the chance to play a year on is something I did not expect."

By Scottish Varsity, Sep 14 2018 09:12AM

Zak Redgrave

3rd year, Chemistry, Edinburgh

Zak Redgrave shares how growing up with professional athletes as parents has influenced him.

An early start

"I first started playing rugby when I was very young at Marlow rugby club. However, I did not fully succeed with rugby until I started at my secondary school, Wellington College, at the age of 13. What got me interested in rugby was initially a push from my father who always wanted me to keep fit and be active. It also helped that both my secondary and prep school were both very keen on rugby.

During my time at school, I played a number of different sports including basketball and rowing. I was fortunate enough to be able to represent under 16 South England playing basketball however I made the decision to focus on rugby as the coaching available was some of the best in the country."

Looking ahead

"I’ve has some amazing moments during my rugby career and looking ahead one of my main goals is to be part of a winning team at the Scottish Varsity. I imagine winning at Murrayfield to be one of the best feelings you can get as a rugby player."

A sporting legacy

"It was definitely interesting growing up with professional athletes for parents, as there is always a high standard that is expected from you. My father and I have bonded heavily over my sport over the years. He always came to school matches whenever he could and would always act as a second coach even though he has had very limited exposure to playing rugby.

One of the biggest characteristics I have inherited from dad is his competitiveness, neither him nor I can lose at anything especially when it’s against each other. He always pushed me to my best in any sport I wanted to play, but there was never any pressure to follow in his footsteps and be a rower myself."

By Scottish Varsity, Sep 12 2018 09:40AM

Quintan Sanft

St Andrews Backs Coach

At the beginning of September Saints Rugby welcomed former Western Samoan international Quintan Sanft into the coaching setup at University Park, where he has taken up the role of Backs Coach.

Sanft was born in Apia, the capital of Samoa but moved to New Zealand when he was a teenager. Honours soon came his way with appearances for the New Zealand schools, under-19 and under-21 sides, culminating in a contract with the New Zealand RFU.

Looking to do something a little bit different in the summer off-season away from the New Zealand 7s circuit, Sanft moved to Scotland to play for Kirkcaldy in the national leagues. After a spell with Biggar Rugby Cub, he moved back to the Fife club in 2005 to take on the role of Player Coach.

Representing Western Samoa in the early 2000s, his last against Scotland at BT Murrayfield, Sanft made a return to international rugby on the sevens circuit in 2004, and again in 2009 at IRB International Sevens events in London and Edinburgh.

Whilst still retaining his role as Head Coach of Kirkcaldy in BT National League Division 2, after over a decade coaching at Scottish Club level Sanft is now eager to explore rugby in a different arena.

I’m really looking forward to working with this young and energetic squad and being involved in the university setup. It is a great opportunity to be involved in a player’s development and growth and I’m looking forward to passing on my knowledge and experience. Scott [Lawson] has formed a very hardworking and highly skilled team, and I’m keen to get the season rolling.

By Scottish Varsity, Sep 11 2018 11:18AM

Erik Mårtensson

4th Year, Engineering

Erik Mårtensson took up Rugby at eight years old and has captained his country (Sweden) at U18 level. He talks to us about the pride of playing for his national team and his club.

Enjoying the game

"I started playing rugby when I was eight years old back in Sweden after trying out an array of different sports. Although rugby is not very popular in Sweden there was a very successful club in my city that had always drawn a lot of attention. I played on and off during the next few years but didn’t really hit my stride until puberty came along and made me a bit more athletic.

I played underwater hockey for several years and was incidentally called up for the junior national team at the same time as I was called up for the U16 Rugby National Team as well, at which point I chose rugby simply because I enjoyed it more."

The pride of playing for your country

"My greatest rugby memory to date would be my senior debut for Sweden, against the Netherlands in Amsterdam. I was lucky enough to play all throughout the Swedish junior ranks and at senior level as well as captaining the U18 in the European Championship. Despite Sweden not being the biggest rugby playing nation, nothing compares to the honour and pride of running out in the colours and representing your country. Comparing it to Varsity is tough simply because of the rivalry between us and St Andrews, and the atmosphere at Murrayfield with over 10000 spectators is pretty hard to beat."

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