From Football to Rugby: Liam Hinch
We have many athletes that transition from other sports to rugby including soccer, football, lacrosse, and hockey. A prime example of this is dynamic Dinos front row Liam Hinch who initially focused on his football career before making the switch. Liam was recruited out of high school to join Dinos Football and after a couple years was looking for a new opportunity as he traded in his pads and helmet to join Dinos Men’s Rugby.
We sat down with Liam to pick his brain on how he made the transition.
Tell us about your athletic background and football journey.
I started playing football and rugby when I got to high school. I grew up in a rural area and rugby was not popular at all. In fact, myself and the two other rugby players from my high school had to drive 45 min to another town to play. I enjoyed both sports a lot, and because my high school was good at football I ended up focusing more on it and was good enough to sign with the U of C Dinos. After I graduated high school I never really gave any thought to coming back to rugby again.
What made you decide to give rugby a try and how did you get connected to the Dinos men’s rugby team?
I spent two years with Dinos Football and decided that I needed a change. It was at BSD (last day of classes) where I was talking to former rugby captain Ryan Littlewood who I knew through a mutual. I remember telling Ryan about how I played rugby in high school and somehow I ended up telling him I was ready to move on from football. He told me all about the rugby team at U of C and that is how I found out about the program. Once I had stepped away from football, I told Ryan and he got me in touch with Director of Rugby Rayner Hart, who gave me all the information I needed about the program.
What was the skills transition like from football to rugby? What aspects did you have to really work hard on to develop in the transition?
A lot of people try to compare the two sports but aside from both being contact sports they are really quite different. I really worked on my defensive skills because playing offensive line in football I hadn't made a tackle in a long time. I knew playing rugby I would be making a lot of them, so I wanted to make sure I was a confident, hard hitting tackler. Also, just being involved in carrying the ball was a big change as well. Understanding the game and knowing where I needed to be at different times was a struggle for me, seeing as in football I lined up in the same place all the time. Being dynamic is incredibly important in rugby so that was something I tried to become better at. It is something I am still working on.
What is your favourite part about rugby and the Dinos?
My favourite part about the Dinos rugby team is the players. This team has done so much for me and I have made incredible friends and met amazing people. There is such a great culture on this team and rugby is such an amazing sport overall. I cannot emphasize enough to anyone who is interested in playing rugby to come out and join the Dinos.