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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

 

Rugby Personalities: Professionalism meant a rest.

“My working day began in the gym at 6.30am,” he said. “I’d get to the building site about 8.30, work until 5 and then go to the club for training. When I was signed by Saracens, I had to move house to Twickenham because the drive across London could take two hours in gridlock. We’d train until 9.30pm, which didn’t leave much time for getting the beers in, and I’d get home around midnight. I was glad when the game went professional, as it meant that I could get some rest.”

JASON LEONARD was creaking at the launch of the RBS Six Nations Championship last week. “I’ve just been to the gym for the first time in ages and I’m feeling it,” he said. The former Lions prop is not planning a recall to the England team, just toning up the muscles for a return to the building site.

Patrick Kidd of The Times writes that Leonard was an anomaly in the England team when he made his debut in 1990. Unlike those solicitors (Brian Moore), surgeons (Jon Webb) and members of the Royal Air Force (Rory Underwood), Leonard got his hands grubby outside of a Saturday afternoon. He was a skilled carpenter who learnt the trade as a 12-year-old at his father’s workbench in Barking and worked on building sites while rising through the rugby ranks.

“My working day began in the gym at 6.30am,” he said. “I’d get to the building site about 8.30, work until 5 and then go to the club for training. When I was signed by Saracens, I had to move house to Twickenham because the drive across London could take two hours in gridlock. We’d train until 9.30pm, which didn’t leave much time for getting the beers in, and I’d get home around midnight. I was glad when the game went professional, as it meant that I could get some rest.”

But although Leonard swiftly became a fixture for England, and retired last spring having earned a record 114 caps, he never lost his love of carpentry. “I kept my hand in even when the game changed,” he said. “Being a professional sportsman can be very dull with all that sleeping, training and eating the right food. If you’re a bus driver, you don’t want to talk about buses after work. So I kept in with the building trade.”

A year ago he became a director of the Laboursite Group, a construction logistics company, but he is not the sort to stand around in a suit watching others work. Last year, he helped out with the RFU’s refit of Finchley rugby club, in Herts/Middlesex 1, part of the union’s Rugby Force programme to revamp dilapidated clubhouses, and has offered to do the same this year for another clubhouse as part of a competition organised by RBS and The Times.

“I want to give something back to the game that nurtured me,” he said. “Below the Premiership, the club game depends on volunteers putting in lots of work. It’s a labour of love for them, so we’re going to reward one club by giving it a facelift. I’ll turn up, talk over with the club what they want to do and do a lot of the work myself.

“At Finchley, all the kids got involved and I sent them home covered in paint. They loved it, but it probably drove their parents up the wall.”

Maybe, but who would dare complain
Comments:
“I want to give something back to the game that nurtured me,” he said. “Below the Premiership, the club game depends on volunteers putting in lots of work. It’s a labour of love for them, so we’re going to reward one club by giving it a facelift. I’ll turn up, talk over with the club what they want to do and do a lot of the work myself."

I am SICK to death of pushing this message but I'll keep doing it.

Why do I hear moans, groans and complaints from clubs in Cape Town that "we have no facilities, our changeroom is terrible" and yet I know for a fact the area is a hotbed of artisans.

Enough with the freaking handout culture - get the community involved and sort the frigging problems out, don't wait for the WPRFU or SARU - JUST DO IT!!!!!
 
It's called the Victim Syndrome. It means everything must be done FOR you, nothing BY you.
We demand, you supply.
We demolish, you supply again.
 
It's a common problem in all of Africa. We have an attitude of waiting for handouts, rather than going out and getting it for ourselves! Almost like banana banana blaming everyone but themselves for their poor performance in Egypt!  
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