Blom named man of match

IPSWICH Rugby Club's Christof Blom was named man of the match after trialling for Premiership side Northampton Saints Academy team.The high-flying Number 8 was called up at the last minute for the Wanderers, in a Guinness 'A' League match against Leeds Tykes A.

IPSWICH Rugby Club's Christof Blom was named man of the match after trialling for Premiership side Northampton Saints Academy team.

The high-flying Number 8 was called up at the last minute for the Wanderers, in a Guinness 'A' League match against Leeds Tykes A.

Christof, 24, received a call last Sunday, asking him to attend the Franklin Gardens ground, in Northampton, the following morning.

Blom said: “It was very last minute, the call came through on Sunday, and I travelled down on the Monday morning for the Captain's run through, just hours before kick off.

“I had to very quickly learn the line out calls, but the other players where very supportive towards me.”

When Christof first arrived at Franklin gardens, Academy Director James Sinclair directed him to an office, and he couldn't believe who was sat there in front of him.

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“I arrived and met James, who took me to this room where I met England World Cup hero Steve Thompson, which was fantastic, as he is somebody who I have a great deal of admiration for.”

Blom, who is originally from South Africa, has long been a keen rugby player, having represented his provincial team in both 15s and 7s, as well as playing 7s for the Springboks 7s squad.

He arrived in England a year ago, looking to improve his game, and immediately began playing for Ipswich, who pride themselves in offering overseas rugby players the opportunity to experience northern hemisphere rugby, and he has fast become one of the Humber Doucy lane team's top performers.

Christof played the full 80 minutes, along side four first team players, in front of a huge crowd of supporters, club scouts, and the first team coach, who made the Man of the Match decision.”

When asked about the standard of rugby, he said: “Due to the very high level of fitness, it was incredibly fast paced, and everybody was very committed. Everyone knows their role, and there is no room for error.

“I was very nervous at the beginning, but when I received the ball and broke the first tackle, the nerves went, the other players also kept talking to me, which was very reassuring.”

“During the match I helped set up two tries, and broke the line on a number of occasions, which had the effect of boosting my confidence.

“Ten minutes before the final whistle, I heard my name announced as man of the match, which was great, as this was an important game for me, and I really wanted to prove myself.”

After the match, Academy Director Sinclair said: “Christof was outstanding in the way he stepped in on the day and performed so well, he was excellent. He thoroughly deserved his man of the match award.”

“We will be reviewing the video of the match over the next few days, to give his performance a proper assessment, and will be speaking to Ipswich next week with regards to seeing more of Christof in the New Year.”

He added: “Ipswich have been fantastic in releasing him for the trail, and their attempts at pushing young players forward is very impressive. Our link with the club is something we want to be able to maintain in the future.”

Director of rugby at Ipswich RFC, Simon Hughes, said: “Christof is an outstanding player, and his story is a perfect example of how overseas players can come to our club, and progress to a higher level of rugby.”

He added: “Ipswich is an established club which is moving forward, and offers good quality rugby, we also have strong contacts with many big name clubs such as Northampton, which enables us to act as a 'stepping stone' for those who wish to break into the professional game.”

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