Sunderland men's rugby have struggled so far this season.

Sunderland men’s rugby have struggled so far this season.

Some students do a whole three years all in one go and graduate at the end of the third year while others take a year out in between the second and third for work experience. 

This was the case of former Sunderland men’s 1st president Hugo Fairlie who took a year’s work experience at the end of his second year.

He has since returned to the team but things are quite different to when he was president. At the end of his second year, Sunderland were title winners and as a result earned themselves a promotion to the BUCS Rugby Union Northern 4B league.

However, since his return Sunderland have found themselves facing relegation and struggling for wins and players. But this has done nothing to sour his affection for the team and the game.

“I was excited and really looking forward to coming back to the team. After a year out I missed playing rugby and also the social side that comes with it.”

And even though most of his friends have now graduated, Hugo still feels at home in the team.

“Majority of my friends have graduated now but several guys are thankfully still here. Rugby is special because it really forces you to get to know people, so I wasn’t worried about meeting new people.”

A regular player now, Hugo has been present for many of the games this season and even managed to bag a few tries.

“Before I went on my placement I was on the committee as president so coming back to the team just as a player was a little strange at first. It was however incredibly easy to adjust and I’m really enjoying playing rugby without having any added responsibilities. It is a great group of guys that you can tell enjoy playing with each other,” he added.

“For me the season hasn’t gone as hoped so far with only one win and several losses but with quite a young squad and limited players perhaps it was expected.

“We are steadily improving week in week out. Our training sessions are excellent thanks to our coach Clive Fish. With that in mind I’m hoping for a strong finish to the season. Personally the main focus is a win at Varsity against Teesside University, which takes place at the very end of the year and will be my last game for the University.”

Hugo will return along with the rest of the team in the new year with the first game being against University of Bradford men’s 1st on 15 February 2017.