Next up in our series is Nic Rouse, a lock forward who joined London Irish, initially on loan in 2008/09 playing a Premiership game, before signing with the club permanently in 2013.

After 40 appearances, one try and the ‘Player of the Season’ award for the 2013/14 season, Nic finished his time with the club at the end of the 2015/16 season.

We caught up Nic after his time in rugby, and more specifically coaching, came to an end and the start of life away from the ruby field commenced.

“After 19 years in rugby I decided to pursue a new career” said Rouse.

Following the degree, I finished last year, I got an offer from an IT company in the city. I’m doing resource management, essentially not too dissimilar from what I have been doing recently, in terms of looking after players. I’m now looking after network engineers and looking at their development, so there are a lot of transferable skills.

“It has been quite refreshing going into a new area, I loved the coaching, but having a family (Children Jimmy, Blair and Erin) now means a little more stability is needed. It came out of the blue after a few conversations and I’ve jumped into it with two feet. It is a different kind of lifestyle, but I’m making a good go of it.”

Nic signed for London Irish quite late in his career, joining the year after Glenn Delaney, who worked with Nic at Nottingham, became the club’s Forwards Coach.

“I was plying my trade in the Championship for years and Glenn was in charge of me at Nottingham when I made my debut for London Irish in 2009 (on loan) when Bob and Nick were both injured. Glenn had a big influence in that. I then went back to Nottingham after the loan.

“When Glenn joined the London Irish coaching team and I joined, I don’t think anybody expected me to play as many games as I did that year, let alone get Player of the Year. Glenn knew what I could do, I then spoke to Smithy and it went from there.

“I joined when I was 32 having played in the Championship for the majority of my career, albeit a year at Sale in the Premiership. I wouldn’t say I was your average looking Premiership rugby player in terms of my body shape, but Glenn knew what I could do and I’m very thankful for the opportunity and the belief he showed in me. I suppose I repaid him getting Player of the Year in my first season.”

Of his 40 appearance in the colours of our club, Nic recalls the Exiles last gasp victory against Exeter in January 2015 as a stand-out moment. Shane Geraghty’s late drop goal clinching the victory.

“It was Smithy’s last game in charge against Exeter and we turned up that day. We knew what we could do and went out there and put in a performance that we deserved. It came down to the last few minutes with a drop goal that made it even more special.”

“The one other game, which wasn’t for the result but the fact it was a quarter-final, was when we played Edinburgh at the Madejski.

“We didn’t start very well but found us going to the TMO in the 79th minute for a decision to win the game, and it didn’t go our way.

“Edinburgh went on to reach the Challenge Cup final, so that was one game that got away from us at the Madejski.”

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