|Weight||118kg (18st 8lb)|
Thoughts of joining the Army waned when the opportunity for a professional rugby career arose for Rupert Harden, a former grounds man with a History degree. Born in Melbourne to an Australian father and English mother, he was raised on the family farm in Penrith, Cumbria and educated in London before sixth form studies at Rugby School were followed with those at Newcastle University.
He said: “After being at university, I went to Newcastle Falcons but as an extended member of their academy I was on the fringes. I was at Tynedale at the time and that’s what I count as my home club. They gave me a part-time grounds keeping job to keep me going.”
Then Gloucester made contact with him after he had been produced two impressive performances against Cinderford, the Cherry & Whites’ neighbours. Rupert, an England Counties player, continued: “They signed me and sent me off to Moseley on loan, which is what I needed. It was Championship level anyway.” Up to the end the 2011-12 season, he had made 54 appearances for Gloucester and not looked back.
His parents had met during his father’s stint in the British Army. Rupert almost went in a similar direction. He continued: “There are a lot of similarities between rugby and the Army – working hard and being in it together. I don’t think I could do a desk job for 40 years.”
He was called into the England Saxons’ squad last winter, played off the bench against Scotland A at Netherdale in February and was enlisted for the England senior party for the subsequent tour of South Africa after Matt Stevens sustained a shoulder rotator cuff injury in the Killick Cup victory over the Barbarians at Twickenham. Rupert played off the bench in both midweek matches against the South African Barbarians South and North teams.
Last updated: June 26, 2012