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Teague aiming to take the Club forward
For Rory Teague it was always going to be fly-half.
His cousin ‘Iron’ Mike may have played 27 Test Matches in the England back-row (and two for the British Lions), and his grandfather made numerous appearances in the Gloucester front-row, but for Rory it was the back division that appealed, despite hailing from a part of the world where they worship forward play.
‘It was actually my grandfather who encouraged me to play in the back-line. He said “you don’t want to end up with cauliflower ears like me!”’
‘I have played at full-back a few times, but it’s always been the pivotal role that attracted me the most.’
Not that Rory is any lightweight. Weighing at 14½ stone and rising to 6’1” he has the stature of a back-row like his famous cousin.
‘Having Mike around has always been a great motivation for me. I’ve got huge respect for what he’s achieved and I’d love to emulate just part of it,’ he continued.
‘I enjoy his company and it’s always nice to relate to him when we meet.’
Growing up in Gloucester, Rory played both football and rugby until the age of 13 when he decided he enjoyed the oval-ball game more.
He played alongside Ryan Lamb at Spartans RFC before moving on to the Gloucester Rugby Academy, and a handful of games in the senior side, but it was then that Rory embarked on what would turn out to be a four-year stint in France with Tarbes Pyrenees Rugby followed by FC Grenoble.
‘I wanted a new experience and turning up in an environment where I didn’t know anybody and couldn’t speak the language was certainly that,’ he said.
‘I matured a lot, both in rugby and life in general, and I’ve learned to speak good French.’
In 2011, however, Rory returned to his native country and county and, through former Gloucester colleague Andy Deacon, found his way to Cinderford, making his mark by helping to guide the Forest of Dean side to 8th in the National League One table and ending the division’s top points scorer (on 254) for the 2011/12 season.
Now though, having landed a coaching role at Harrow School, the 27-year old is looking to a long-term future in London.
‘I’m really chuffed to be able to move into coaching, and especially in this part of the world,’ he said.
‘My aim is to settle here now after leading something of a nomadic lifestyle in recent years (Rory now lives in Blackheath with partner Lucy). ‘I love the social life in London and I’m really enjoying it here.’
‘It’s great being part of a close-knit squad at Blackheath and I’m ambitious for us to do well,’ he continued. ‘I want to play every game and I think we should be looking at a minimum of top three finish this season.’
‘That’s what the Club achieved last year and I don’t want us to take a step backwards.’
And does Rory expect a warm welcome when he returns to the West Country and his former club in October, when Blackheath are due to visit Cinderford in their National League One encounter.
‘No,’ he said abruptly but with a wry smile.
‘They’re a feisty lot down there and I’ve been part of a Cinderford side when former players have been in the opposition. I know exactly what to expect!’
Before he gets there though Rory will be in action closer to home this weekend as Blackheath face Wharfedale in their first home game of the new SSE National League One season.
Blackheath against Wharfedale is a 3.00 pm kick-off at Rectory Field in Charlton Road on Saturday 15th September. Admission is £12 (accompanied U16s free of charge).