One of Fylde’s recent recruits is backrower Will Hopwood who has already made his mark in a few games for the Hawks. The 23 year old is a graduate of Stonyhurst College and has played in the last few years in New Zealand. Early impressions from the terraces suggests that Will is a mobile and powerful ball carrier with good all round skills consistent with the Club’s well known playing style. We caught up with Will on the eve of his National One debut at openside flanker against Bishop’s Stortford.

Q: How did you end up playing rugby in New Zealand?

WH: When I finished school at Stonyhurst I left to play a season in New Zealand. I made the Bay of Plenty U’20s and as I was enjoying life so much I decided to stay on. Two years on and I was playing in Auckland for Ponsonby alongside Rieko Ioane and Vince Aso. I was a sales rep for a local company and also featuring in sporting commercials for my weekly pay check. After two years in Auckland I got an opportunity to play up in Northland and push for a place in the Mitre 10 Cup squad. I played for the Northland B team waiting for injuries but never got a cap.

Q: How does NZ and English club rugby compare?

WH: I’d say New Zealand rugby is generally a faster paced game. It’s also very influenced by the high number of Polynesian players. The club game is more amateur but the nice part is they always encourage big stars to support their home town clubs so you often see All Blacks wandering around and helping out.

Q: How do you feel about making your National One debut for Fylde?

WH: I’m very, very excited at the prospect of making my debut for Fylde – and determined to get the win!