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Player Focus #3

Player Focus #3

Don Lynaghan22 Nov 2019 - 19:12
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Another Player Focus. Our own Yogi Bear!

We’ve been absent for a few weeks – lots of meetings taking place, holidays cropping up and a good run of games. We find ourselves on the eve of hosting Poole 2nd XV and a week away from our semi-final game in the Cup competition. An exciting lead up to Christmas!

We have found time however to sit down over a glass of Merlot in a cozy pub in Christchurch with another of our star players. Someone who came bursting into the club with brute force and a hunger to knock down anything in his path. On the pitch he’s an absolute rock and displays incredible strength. Off it, well, soft and cuddly and always smiling. My pleasure to sit back and chat with Ryan “Papa Bear” Stickland.

Thanks for sparing some time for me Ryan. Mind starting by telling the supporters a little about yourself?

Hi I’m Ryan (Papa Bear) best looking front rower in the league

Oh you don’t say? I mean I’ve recently moved into the front row myself…

Yeah I’ll give you that, you’re a close second.

Too kind… Papa Bear – where did the nickname come from? Really cuddly, really angry, mix of both?

I’m not too sure, probably a mixture of both.

I can’t really comment, I’ve not seen either side to be honest. What brought you to the club in the first place?

Wanted to get back into rugby after a year out. I was following the progress of the club on FaceBook and my interest started from there – wanted to be involved and see where it took me.

So how would you sum the place up since you’ve been here?

Felt really welcome when I did my first training session and that hasn’t changed since. Great bunch of lads playing good rugby, loving every minute of it.

Very kind review, we’re fortunate that you’ve decided to stick around. A strong influence on and off the pitch. Very noticeable as you earnt the role of pack leader in our very first game. How did that make you feel?

Cheers mate, I try my best. I was shocked, never thought that I would get that role with there being so many others to chose from.

I heard that you wanted to be the kicker too, much truth in that?

Haha I can’t kick to save my life. Got to let the backs have some fun I guess.

I don’t know, could end up being better than our current options.
How do you prepare for a game, Bear?

First I have to warm the lungs up. Then I just think about smashing people if I’m honest.

Many of the supporters look back on your first game against Poole this year and recall your famously loud giggling from the pitch. What was happening there?

I was just loving the fact that their biggest lad on the pitch kept coming at me and I just kept sitting him on his arse.

Hopefully another opportunity for that tomorrow, or next season when we see them again!
Starting at No 8 tomorrow, is that a position you’ve played previously and are you looking forward to it?

I’m hoping so. I’ve played the position once or twice, buzzing to play there. Hopefully get to make some good runs.

You’ll be the shortest 8 we’ve had but one we’re really looking forward to see run out. Careful with the position though, I heard playing there does strange things to you. Previous players have gone on to get hair perms and grand ideas that they’re now better of playing in the backs. Or worse, booking numerous holidays, skiving off rugby altogether while downing copious amounts of “unicorn gin”.

Haha don’t know about playing in the backs. I’m more of a run straight type of guy. And only ***** drink gin, lol. Not naming anyone.

But getting hair permed is fine?

No comment.

Considering your name, I wanted to try a quick game. I’m going to give you a type of bear, and you tell me the first player in the squad to come to mind and why. Good?

Yeah I’m up for that.


Probably Andy, just because he is our biggest guy and hard as nails on the pitch.

Are pandas hard as nails?

I wouldn’t fight one!

Fair point, I’m with you on that. OK, koala.

I’m not sure on that one.

OK… grizzly?

Henley. He’s got to be the angriest person on the pitch.

When he gets on the pitch…

Going to be tough with me playing at 8!

Oooh them be fighting words. Wonder if he’ll be on safari again tomorrow?
Anyway, we digress. Yogi bear.

Not got a clue who he is.

Oh dear. Polar? These are the white bears you usually find in the Arctic.

That’s better, I know that one! But I don’t think I’m very good at this game as I don’t have a clue…

Perhaps we edit this part from the interview… I’ve failed in my game and you don’t know who Yogi bear is. I don’t know what the bigger embarrassment is.

Probably best if we do mate. Worth a try though.

Onwards and upwards… So with us fast approaching Christmas and onto the second half of the season, where do you think we will end up?

We will win this league. It’s as simple as that.

I like the positivity! Excited for the next season?

Yeah I can’t wait. Harder games and better opponents. It’s what we need and deserve.

Good to hear Bear. Last thoughts, why would you recommend Christchurch RFC to a potential new player?

You will always be welcomed. It’s a great atmosphere and we all want the same thing. To play rugby, have fun while winning!

Bear, thank you very much for your time. And good luck tomorrow.

Anytime, see you on the pitch.

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