Another rainy day another M25 journey; this time to meet with Tim Streather; Saracens summer signing from Nottingham Rugby. I went with 2 hats on firstly as InTheLoose writer type person and secondly as the social media person for the Saracens Supporters Association. (The truth is now out!) We met in a Starbucks, where the athlete that Tim is had Green Tea (yuk) and I ordered myself a hot chocolate; it would I’m sure have been sublime if Starbucks actually knew what the word hot meant, instead it was decidedly average!
Enough of coffee shop matters and more of rugby stuff. Tim was brought up in the very beautiful Malvern; he started playing rugby at the age of 5 at Cheltenham, soon moving to Worcester Juniors. Tim is one of 3 brothers and his big brother, 2 years older played and still does at a decent level for Sevenoaks; his very brave younger brother chose his own way, being girls and guitars! Tim attended a local school; Chase and played both rugby and football through his school days. One thing that I wondered is whether he watched rugby during that time, but it seems he was too busy playing to watch, other than the 6 Nations games.
Tim had been spotted by Worcester Warriors via his club and also through regional rugby; when he left school at 18 he was offered an Academy contract with Warriors. As far as positions are concerned Tim started at scrum half, moving to fly half at 16. It became plain that he was something of a speedster so he moved to wing/fullback. While he was at Warriors Tim moved to his current favoured position at outside centre. After the 2 years were up Tim was offered a further year, but he didn’t feel that things were progressing as they should be; he took a decision that must have felt like putting an end to a career in rugby. He applied successfully to Nottingham University and started a 3 year Management Studies degree.
And so life as a student started for Tim at the age of 20 and he very clearly enjoyed his time at the university. I imagine it was going back to a touch of normality; but of course having played the game of rugby since he was 5 Tim wasn’t going to give it up completely. He played for the Uni and was coached by the Nottingham Rugby Captain. He must have pinched himself when he saw a recent Warriors Academy player in his side. In the 3rd year of his degree Tim signed a 1 year contract with Nottingham and basically became a full time rugby player. During his first year he was the top try scorer and named as Nottingham player of the year. At the same time Tim continued with his studies with little attendance at the Uni – he gained a 2:1.
With things going well Tim signed a contract for a further 2 years and went from strength to strength. While at the Championship club he was dual registered with Leicester Tigers and travelled with them to Montpellier; he was unfortunately injured in the last game; a knee problem that put him out until January. That coincided with the World Cup when he may well have been given his chance at Tigers, he would however have been part of the team that was beaten 50 to 25 by his new club. It’s clear Tim enjoyed his time at Nottingham and has a lot to thank them for. In May 2013 he was named as the RFU Championship Player of the Year. Tim was to leave the club that brought him back to rugby on that high after he was approached by Saracens. The move was sorted very quickly once the ethos and culture at the club had been explained; Saracens who finished top of the Premiership in 2012/13 were also a club going places.
And so to Saracens, I saw Tim at the Gloucester game and we spoke about the fact that every man on the bench including him had leapt in the air when Saracens were down to 13 men and won the scrum awarded to the home team. I felt that personified just what is going on at the North London club and Tim gave his view that the culture of working as hard as you can for each other is a huge factor in the current success Saracens are enjoying. He explained that Mark McCall and his coaching team go into a huge level of detail looking at every facet of Saracens game as well as putting in due diligence for the opposition. Tim explained that he also feels the Conditioning and Physio team are and a different level. In common with Will Skinner who I met last week, he explained that those funny little GPS devices are used all week; largely to ensure that players aren’t overworked and remain at peak fitness levels. It also seems that at this level the time spent training is less it is much more intense. With an embarrassment of riches in the centres Tim is having to be patient and bide his time. He started the LV games against Wasps and Scarlets and has featured in the Premiership games against Exeter, Leicester and Worcester. Tim looks to be a pacey player with the dancing feet of a back used to making and scoring tries. With the 6 Nations competition due to start in February Tim should get a further chance to impress.
I line with my interest in what does rugby do to prepare players for life after rugby I found out that Tim has had work experience in the City with a wealth management organisation and has 2 more spells already lined up. In line with my love of rugby league I asked Tim what he thought of the game, must remember to do that every time I interview someone! I was pleased to hear that he likes to watch the ‘other’ code and admires the heavy hits in particular.
With 2 weeks of Heineken Cup rugby to come for Saracens Tim will be on the sidelines but should start in the team to play the Newcastle Falcons in the LV Cup. He’s an exciting prospect as a Saracens fan and I look forward to watching more of his silky skills.