Elizabeth Cartwight chats to Northampton centre Rory Hutchinson. He spoke about his omission from the Scotland squad, who influenced him to first pick up a rugby ball and a new hobby he picked up during lockdown.
Rory Hutchinson plays for the Northampton Saints in the Gallagher Premiership, who he has represented since 2014. That was also the year he debuted for Scotland Under 18 side, and in total, he has played 27 times for his country (in U18, U20s, and in the senior team).
Elizabeth began by asking, Have you always wanted to be a rugby player? Growing up, was it always the dream to play for Northampton Saints and Scotland, or did you have other career aspirations?
“Growing up, I wouldn’t say that I was determined to be a rugby player. For me, I was lucky in the respect that I enjoyed lots of sports at school whether that be Hockey, Tennis, Cricket, and Swimming. I started playing rugby much later on than say the other players who I play with at Northampton now.
“I joined the Saints academy at the age of seventeen. Luckily for me, I was good enough and I feel very fortunate looking back to have been given the opportunity to try out lots of sports. I for one feel very grateful to be able to do a job many people could only dream of doing”.
Have you been in contact with Gregor this season? What’s he said you need to work on if you want to play for Scotland again?
“Yeah, I have. He called me prior to the squad announcement to tell me unfortunately I wasn’t included. He gave me some things to work on. My attacking game is currently very good so if I can balance that with my defensive play, I’ll be a more rounded player. I’ve listened to that feedback and I’m prepared to work hard to improve my skill set back at Northampton”.
What’s been your proudest moment to date as a professional rugby player?
“My proudest moment was obviously making my debut for Scotland. My debut also made my friends and family incredibly proud too.
OF Rory Hutchinson will be representing Scotland in the opening round of the 2020 Six Nations vs Ireland today. Tune in at 4.45pm, ITV! #felstedinspires @Felstedians #GuinnessSixNations #IREvSCO pic.twitter.com/XxU2DlFWOw
— Felsted School (@FelstedSchool) February 1, 2020
“There were moments earlier on in my career when I didn’t believe I’d be given the opportunity. When I look back at my time in the Northampton Saints Academy and when Chris Boyd joined Northampton, I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity as it was so unexpected but a very special moment for me and my family”.
Who influenced you to play the game?
“When you’re young, you have players like Dan Carter and Jonny Wilkinson to aspire to be like but for me personally, without my parents taking me here, there, and everywhere, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“I went to Felsted Boarding School when I was younger. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, I’d play for Felsted. My Mum would then take me to Counties training on a Monday. It was a 40-minute car journey, there and back. My parents would then pick me up on a Saturday after I played. Then, I’d play rugby for Shelford on a Sunday in Cambridge! Their dedication has lead me be where I am today. It’s a credit to them.
“(Also) I owe a lot to my parents and wouldn’t be having this chat with you today if it wasn’t for them”.
What advice would you give to your younger self? Would you do anything differently to what you did do growing up?
“In a rugby sense, I’d say don’t do anything you don’t enjoy. I never looked at rugby on a cold and wet Sunday and not want to get up. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t have done it so I wouldn’t push anyone to be forced into it. A lot of people who I used to play with, don’t play now and haven’t touched a rugby ball for years.
“For me, enjoyment is massive and it’s about not overcomplicating it and doing the basics right and really well. This will help you progress and push up the ladder”.
Have you learned any new hobbies in lockdown?
“Me and my girlfriend have been doing a bit of DIY actually. We tiled on my kitchen and made it look relatively modern which was good fun. We also decked the garden with my girlfriend’s Dad which was enjoyable and gave us something to do! So I guess I’ve learnt a new skill!”
Are you happy with where Northampton currently sit in the table, considering the amount of games that have been cancelled due to Covid?
“Yes. I think if I look back at the end of last season, it wasn’t a fond moment for us as rugby players at Northampton. I don’t think much has changed in what we’re doing but our confidence and our ability have; Getting that win over Wasps at the Richo Arena a couple of weeks ago was a real step in the right direction. Six months ago, we’d have lost that fixture. It’s been a real positive.
“I think even though it is good we get points for cancellations, we’re still disappointed. We’d have got more points if we had have played. For us, yes we’re lucky we’re able to collect the points and be in fourth place. However, we’d have loved to have gained more by playing in some big fixtures. We’re coming up to halfway through the season now and we’re in a similar place to where we were last season. So we just need to be able to kick on and finish the tournament off on a high”.
And finally, Elizabeth asks Rory ‘What are your goals for 2021?’
“Personally, I just want to get the best out of myself no matter what I do. I don’t want to change because anyone is telling me to. If you ask anyone who knows me, they’ll say I’m a very relaxed type of guy. My coaches often tell me that too.
“I just want to win big and no matter what it takes in getting Northampton to win, that’s the most important thing for me and I will do anything I can to make that happen. If I play well for my club, I’ll reap the rewards so personally, it doesn’t matter how pretty it is, I just want to win trophies for the Saints“.
Gallagher Premiership Round 11: Northampton v Bath, Sunday February 28
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