EIRA Player Spotlight - Kieran Farmer
EIRA Player Spotlight - Kieran Farmer
As the Rugby Texas league starts to get to the business end, several teams have shown themselves to be major contenders, and one of those is the 4-0 Woodlands team.
And while a number of players have stepped up for the Houston-area team, none more so than Kieran Farmer. Farmer has been a three-time team MVP and the senior flyhalf has a good chance at being the same this year. Named the best back in Texas last year, and this coming summer he will attend the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Academy in New Zealand. But as good as he is, he's missed a look at national honors because of an ACL injury last summer during the state semis. As a result, he missed playing for the Texas select side at the Rocky Mountain Challenge.
Born in Scotland, Farmer actually didn't learn rugby until he moved with his family to ... Azerbaijan. There a friend's dad was a big rugby-lover, and decided to form a team with ex-pat kids in Baku, the capital city.
That was it, pretty soon he was hooked, and then the Farmer family moved from Azerbaijan to Texas, they were surprised to find a vibrant high school rugby scene. He chose to play for Woodlands in 7th grade, but almost started with rivals Katy instead. He was lucky to find two strong programs so close to each other.
“I began playing with Woodlands Youth Rugby at the U13 age group coached by David John Selby,” said Farmer. Selby immediately put Farmer at flyhalf and he has remained there ever since.
“Coach Selby began training me under his wing and shaped me into the rugby player I am today - teaching me about respect for the game and others.”
The MVP of that team, Farmer moved up to the high school team, playing for the Woodlands JV under Phil Beck.
“Coach Phil has become the most influential man in my high school rugby career,” said Farmer. “He has taught me so much over the years and I cannot thank him enough for all he has done for me.”
Farmer was the team MVP, Woodlands was undefeated and Farmer made the Texas select team that finished 2nd at the RMC. Then last year Farmer helped Woodlands to the playoffs only to get that ACL injury.
“I was devastated,” said Farmer, who had to sit on the sidelines as Woodlands finished 3rd in the state. “Over the course of the next 11 months all I had on my mind was returning to the pitch and enduring rehab to get my knee stronger than before. This injury was hard on me mentally and physically and challenged me every day to become stronger. This year I am now stronger than I was before and determined to win a state championship for my club. I am ready for a comback.”
The Woodlands club as whole, said Farmer, is good at working the ball wide.
"We have a pretty wide pitch, wider than most teams, so we're good at getting the ball wide," said the flyhalf. "We have good individual athletes but what we focus on is coming together as a group."
“Kieran Farmer is easily one of the best players I know,” said Griffin Maat, who plays against Farmer with St. Thomas HS, and with him on the Texas select program. “Whenever he is in the game the flow of it changes drastically. He makes any players around him look like superstars with the way he reads the defense.”
So senior year is perhaps a year of revisiting missed opportunities, but as you track Kieran Farmer's rugby career, you might think he's going to get a lot more chances to show how good he is.
Next up for Kieran Farmer, then, is a playoff run for The Woodlands, and then the Hawke's Bay Academy - where he is one of 26 international student players invited for the summer program. From there he's thinking about pushing for a pro contract, if he can get it, or a college program in the USA.
"it's more about the experience, I think, than anything else," he said. "Who knows what's going to happen over there. I want to work on my weaknesses and learn and get better. I am prepared to go over there and go from being one of the better players at Woodlands and being at the bottom over there. It's really just up to me."