Plymouth Albion has strengthened the front row with the addition of Jack Higgins to the squad for the coming season. Jack is back in the UK from New Zealand which the 27-year-old has called home for the past ten years.
He began playing rugby at school in Coventry. “I was a late starter really because I’d played football up to the age of 14, but I wasn’t doing very well,” he says. “I moved school where the sport was predominantly rugby and so I switched.
“I went to New Zealand at the age of 17 on a sports scholarship. I was meant to go for a year, but that was extended to two and then I stayed for six years after that. I studied biology at uni and worked in a lab, but I got bored with that.
“I started coming back to the UK during the rugby off season because I had the urge to play professional or semi-professional rugby here. I hooked up with Coventry because they’d had a couple of injuries and I played for them for two seasons.”
It was at Coventry that Jack met Ben Gulliver, Albion’s newly-appointed Head Coach.
“I got on well with Ben. He’s straight down the line and he creates a good atmosphere. And he brings a lot of experience to the Albion team. I’m a prop and they’re low on numbers so I’m delighted to be here and really looking forward to getting stuck in. It’ll be an interesting year and they have high aspirations.”
The enhanced coaching team at Albion – player Dan Mugford, Exeter Chiefs top point-scorer Gareth Steenson and former Chiefs prop Carl Rimmer – are already making a difference in pre-season training, says Jack.
“It really helps having Carl Rimmer there. It’s a massive advantage to me in the front row to have someone who’s played at that level so recently. I’m getting good technical points from him.
“The team really has something to build on from last year. They have a lot of retention and the new players will strengthen the team.”