Leading from the front on a rugby field

Sam Warburton (captain) of Wales is tackled by Frans Malherbe and Duane Vermeulen during the Rugby World Cup Quarter Final.

Sam Warburton (captain) of Wales is tackled by Frans Malherbe and Duane Vermeulen during the Rugby World Cup Quarter Final. Photo mandatory by-line: Dean Lancaster/Pinnacle - Credit: Dean Lancaster/Pinnacle

SInce retiring from rugby I’ve got into hip op.
However, don’t expect to see me sporting a multitude of gold chains and cruising around East Devon in my whip … I’m talking about the medical kind.
I’ve started a sales job supplying joint replacements.
And a large part of my role is being in situ when operations take place to offer support and guidance about our ‘products’.
So far I’ve witnessed about 30 procedures and it’s been absolutely fascinating. Luckily I’m not the squeamish type but it’s not the sort of work you discuss over the dinner table.
On the rugby front, I was interested to read that all England Six Nations squad members will receive an equal £75,000 during the tournament, regardless of whether they are selected for each of the five games.
Although it is no small sum, it highlights the massive gulf that still exists between football and rugby and why those of us who play with an odd shaped ball mostly need to have second careers… such as selling hip joints!
One player who has done well for himself is fellow Welshman Sam Warburton, who now makes his money from, among other things, a national newspaper column.
He recently explored the pressure of captaincy and what qualities are required for that role.
It got me thinking about the guys I have played under at the Chiefs and it made me realise how lucky I was.
Number one for me was Tommy Hayes who led us to the Premiership.
He was a charismatic guy who made rousing speeches but who was also a gentle giant.
Since then there have been my old mates Steeno (Gareth Steenson), Jack Yeandle and most recently Joe Simmonds (MBE).
All very different people but the one thing they have in common is that they lead from the front and put in the effort off the field.
Finally, hats off to Wasps veteran Jimmy Gopperth who, during a match against Bristol told referee Karl Dickson that the opposition had grounded the ball to score a try.
It was rare, old school and honest -  and I’d like to think in the same situation I’d do the same… even against Bristol!

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