Oliver Nott Grade 12, Shawnigan Lake School

Oliver Nott prepares to feed the ball back to a teammate. - Stephen Lane/file
Oliver Nott prepares to feed the ball back to a teammate.
— image credit: Stephen Lane/file

Signature sports moment of 2012: I was playing with Rugby Canada U17 at Wellington Festival in England. I had been named captain of the entire tour, and my signature sport moment was captaining the team against England A. We were winning the entire game, but to only come short and lose narrowly 14-12. The reason why this is my signature moment is because we were the underdogs coming into the match and we showed them how Canada can compete with some of the best rugby players in the world in our age group.

Coach’s words of wisdom: The coach of my club team when I lived in England  taught me two concepts about attitude when playing rugby. First, to remember that you’re only as good as your last game, meaning that you need to do your best every time you take the field. Second, not to stand off or give anyone respect that wasn’t earned on the field of play. The coach was my Dad!

Biggest obstacle to overcome: When I was 14 I broke my collar bone playing rugby. It was a complete fracture and was extremely painful and it took four months to heal physically. When I returned to training, the other issue I had to overcome was the mental issue of being able to trust my injured shoulder to tackle as hard as I used to without it breaking again. At first, I was very reluctant to tackle hard and I was also worried about hitting the ground hard. It took further months for me to forget the injury and it was far more difficult to achieve than I had expected it to be. One key thing that helped was a doctor telling me the amount of new bone that had grown around the break had actually made the injured collar bone stronger than it was before!

Best teammate ever: When I first came to Shawnigan, I was 15 and lucky enough to gain a starting place in the first XV which won the AAA BC Championship. It was tough being on a team with most guys two years older than you but Lukas Balkovec made me feel like part of the team by taking me under his wing, telling me jokes and making me feel like a teammate — rather than just a Grade 10 outsider on a team full of Grade 12’s!

Benefits of being in high-level sports: There are two main benefits. The first is obvious: travel! In the last two and a half years, I have played rugby in England, Wales, U.S.A., Australia, Japan and, of course, Canada! Competing internationally is both a great challenge and a great opportunity to experience different cultures. The second benefit is the opportunity to improve by playing alongside so many talented people and gaining access to great coaches.

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