School Sport: Hoult hoping to inspire Coopers pupils
- Credit: Archant
Head of rugby has important messages for students
Coopers Coborn’s head of rugby Sid Hoult hopes to inspire more students to take up the sport, after reaching a high standard himself.
Hoult represented Northampton Saints and believes rugby offers more than just a chance to keep fit.
But, he was also keen to stress the importance of academics to any young player.
“It’s important because rugby has taught me so much,” said Hoult.
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“My big advice would be rugby and academics goes hand in hand. It’s about having a life after rugby.”
Hoult had to give up on his rugby dreams after serious injury, but is now passing on his knowledge to pupils at the Upminser school.
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The first team reached the last 32 of the Natwest Vase this year, before losing to eventual finalists St Ambrose, and won the Essex 15s and 7s.
The year nines and 10s reached the late stages of the county events, with the younger group runners-up in the plate final, and the year sevens won their Essex 7s.
“I knew the rugby pedigree the school had and the potential and some of the players that have come out of Coopers,” added Hoult.
“After speaking to Leigh Marshall and a couple of other people at the school, it just needed a bit of energy brought back into it.”
Understanding the strong rugby history at the school and realising its importance and how it has helped build friendship and respect among teams, Hoult is keen to keep pushing that message.
Believing a good rugby player to be honest, willing to work, and to have good self-belief, Hoult teaches the students these characteristics and has increased team confidence.
And he knows this will help pupils succeed not only in rugby, but life in general too.
“Rugby just offers so much, it has changed some kid’s lives,” he addd.
“It teaches you to have self discipline, the respect value, and having the understanding that it is not just all about sport, you do need your academics in life.”
Hoult was introduced to the sport at the age of four when his father took him to local club Chelmsford.
And the youngster was quick to show off his rugby skills, at a time when Leicester Tigers were the dominant force in English club rugby.
Naming Les Cusworth as an early rugby idol, but not favouring any one team, Hoult added: “I just loved the game in general.”
Hockey, cricket and football were also passions of the young sporting all-rounder, before he decided to focus all of his energies on rugby.
After training at Saracens at the age of 15 – “against under-21s” – Hoult was snapped up by Northampton after being spotted playing for Essex and Eastern Counties.
A versatile back, he spent six seasons at Franklin’s Gardens and represented London and South East under-21s, before going to Loughborough College, and was hoping to make it with Saints after finishing his studies.
But with his full-time career about to take off, Hoult suffered a cruel blow as he tore his ACL ligament in his left knee while playing a match in Bath.
He added: “You could be the best player in the world, but at any point it can be taken away from you via an injury, so you need you academic stuff behind you.
“When I first started I didn’t think about it. I didn’t do particularly well at A-levels because I took rugby more seriously as I was at a big club, that’s all I needed.”
Following his setback, Hoult decided to go travelling around the world and visited a Northampton friend in South Africa where he stayed for two years.
Hoult played three games for South African club Old Selbournians, before he was selected for second tier Currie Cup side Border Bulldogs.
And, having recalled a big Boxing Day derby for Northampton’s second string against Leicester, he admitted his time in South Africa was something else.
“The atmosphere and the size of the stadiums were pretty phenomenal,” added Hoult, who would no doubt love to see some of his young charges get to enjoy similar experiences in their sporting careers and life.