Hunter Lloyd hooked on rugby

Hunter Lloyd is the Chronicle's Athlete of the Month for May.

Hunter Lloyd is the Chronicle's Athlete of the Month for May.

Hunter Lloyd is the Chronicle's Athlete of the Month for May.

From the moment Hunter Lloyd got his first taste of rugby, he was hooked.

That was five years ago. Now, the centre fielder splits his spare time between four different teams, including the Celtic Barbarians, a select team of players from B.C. and Alberta.

“I like the intensity of it. I find I get kind of bored with sports like basketball. They’re intense, but the physicality is lacking,” he said. “I like the physicality of rugby.”

Lloyd first began playing rugby with the Ladysmith Secondary School Blues and knew right away it was the sport for him. He then signed up to play with the Cowichan Rugby Club as well and says the combination of the two teams has had a significant impact on his game play.

“I’ve definitely gotten a lot better,” he said.

In addition to attending school, Lloyd plays two practices and a game a week with the Blues, who are currently preparing for provincials, and he will play for the North Island Tsunami rep team in July. In the fall, Lloyd plays with the Cowichan Rugby Club two times a week.

“I love to play, but I’m hoping next year to go to UVic and play there,” he said. “They have a really good rugby program at that school.”

One of Lloyd’s most memorable rugby moments was the trips he made to Vegas with the Celtic Barbarians in February 2011 and 2012.

“I found that really helped me a lot, going down there and playing with a higher-level team,” he said.

In March, Lloyd participated in the Fullerton Rugby Tournament in California with his fellow LSS Blues teammates.

“It was very good for the team,” he said. “It taught them how to play properly against big guys. Just because they’re big doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going to swamp you.”

Lloyd is now focusing his energy on the upcoming provincials and is excited to see how the LSS Blues fare.

“I think we have a great team,” he said. “With the progress we’ve made this season, I think we can go pretty far in the provincials and hopefully get one of the top rankings.”

Lloyd said the team also owes a big thank you to community coach Pete Kis-Toth and his dedication to the sport.

“He’s definitely helped us the last two years in a big way,” he said.

Though he has also tried out soccer and participated in track, Lloyd sees his future in the game of rugby

“When you first play, you’re almost nervous, and I’ve found that  feeling never goes away,” he said. “Before every game, you have that little bit of nervousness that keeps you on your toes.”

Lloyd encourages everyone to give the sport a try but warns it is definitely not an easy sport.

“It’s not for the weak — you have to want to play,” he said.