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Dear Rugby, Love Red

Redvers Freeman BA Global Liberal Arts

What a year it has been! Winning the league and promotion with a game to spare, winning Varsity and narrowly going out in the semi-final of the cup, all whilst becoming a very tight-knit squad. After a dismal 2017/18 season and the promise of losing half of the team, I was less than optimistic for what was to come this year. Yet, it has been amazing. More than anything, the team has bonded as a stunningly dysfunctional family with baby Schmiddy and Grandad Gouthy born 3 decades apart yet they still fight together, like Warriors, on the pitch.

Massive credit needs to go to Mr. Mike Zakko who made a huge effort to recruit new players, without which this season wouldn’t have been possible at all. Testament to the work of Mikey is that we have always been able to field a full team; in fact, there was a very unusual situation wherein we couldn’t fit everyone on the bench due to the squad being too big! I also have to thank the coaching of Jim (or daddy to me), who I think has done an incredible job at developing the new players on the team, who have all improved in leaps and bounds. We have moved from a mixed ability side to a fully-fledged squad of mates with every player being able to play a number of positions. One of the key reasons for our success this season has been Juan. Juan has been an absolute class act, going slightly under the radar because of his understated personality. He pulled off stings in every match and I am particularly grateful as I got the plaudits for putting away a share of the many chances he created. This paired with immense tackling and a willingness to dive head first and at full tilt into the biggest man in every game makes me smile just thinking about it.

In reality, this season wouldn’t have been possible without the new fellas who have integrated seamlessly into the squad. This is particularly impressive as most had never played before, however, by the end of the year all of them were doing bits on the pitch and being genuinely great guys. One of my favourite quotes of the year came from a little fresher, who on the morning of a match sent me the message, ‘babe I’m still coming today but the shits are going to have to come too so if I suddenly need one in the middle of something what should I do?’.  This really shows the dedication and gorgeousness of my team which I would be understating if I said anything other than I have pure love for.

I cannot wait for next year, in which we will really be tested in the league and cup above, with the youngsters needing to fill the very big boots left by the departing third years. Unlike at the beginning of this year, they should all feel very confident and ambitious because they are fantastic blokes who will continue to do SOAS proud. Finally, I would just like to reiterate that I really love all you guys and thank you so much for making my year so brilliant I hope you have loved the ride too.

Love from Red Freeman

Photo Credits: Corinna Del Debbio

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