Young Gun: Nick Haining – Jersey No.8

Big win against Yorkshire Carnegie last week?

It was a great home win for us and it raised the confidence levels even more. We kept our winning record going, taking it to five on the bounce, going into a big game against the Cornish Pirates.

They’re on good form as well, aren’t they?

Very much so! I think they’ve won their last seven games, too. Something will have to give in Penzance I guess.

What will you have to do to win?

Given the weather forecast, it’s going to be a forward-orientated game. The pack will have to win the battle up front and to do that we’ll have to stick to our drills.

What’s been working well in recent weeks?

The combination between the backs and forwards have gone well and we’re gelling well together. Our set-piece has been really dominant and the backs have clicked well to score a few tries when we gave them the platform.

Can you recall a turning point since your last defeat at home to Ealing on New Year’s Day?

We were just missing a few shots because of individual errors. We made sure got our process right, starting with the set-piece. It seems to be coming together nicely and that’s why we’ve been winning games.

A big change from that poor run between September and November then?

We lost eight games from ten during that period but we were really close and kept getting losing bonus-points. We had a look at key moments in games that didn’t go our way and now we seem to get these right.

Right back in the race for the semi-finals?

We’re five points off Ealing, who are in fourth, with a game in hand, so if we can keep winning, hopefully, we can challenge them.

Was it the target at the start of the year?

We didn’t speak about the semi-finals as such. All we wanted at the start of the season was to keep building, win some games, climb up the table and see where it’d take us. We’ll see what happens I guess.

Two games in five days against the Pirates, too?

We’re playing them at home next Friday in the B&I Cup quarter-finals so I guess whoever wins this week will have a chance to get their revenge quickly.

Is the British and Irish Cup a target?

Being one the last eight teams still in the competition, we’re in with a shout. We’ve had a good campaign so far and we’ve taken a lot of confidence out of that.

What do you make of your own season?

I’m having a great time. It’s a long old season but I’m taking it game by game and I’m very much enjoying it.

How long have you been at the club?

I joined from Western Australia where I was playing club rugby three years ago. So professional rugby is still new to me but I’m taking it in my stride.

Was it tough to make the transition?

It’s a different game in Europe than it is back home with the forwards game having a lot more importance. The set-piece is huge here so that was a big learning curve. Getting to play more rugby has definitely helped my game a lot.

Ever played for the Force?

I was in their academy but I never got a shot at Super Rugby. I needed to play more rugby so that’s why I left.

Could you cut it in Super Rugby or the Premiership?

I have confidence in myself and in my abilities so I’d like to think so. But the only way to find out is to play at that level. I’ll see where the future takes me.

If not rugby, what would you be doing?

I’m not too sure but I’m currently doing a business degree so I’d have liked to go into management.

Favourite cheat meal?

I trying to stick to chicken breast and broccoli but it gets boring after a while so I do have a pizza now and again.

Three special dinner guests?

My old man Brett, LeBron James and Muhammad Ali.

Best and worst banter at Jersey?

I’ll give best banter to my housemate George Eastwell but my fellow Aussie Dave McKern has to be the worst.

Best and worst dressed?

Dave would have to take worst again but I have to say that George Watkins looks quite good.

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