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EIRA Player of the Week - John Hickman

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EIRA Player of the Week - John Hickman

Hickman finding space for St. Augustine. Now that HS football is over, like a lot of players, his thoughts turn exclusively to rugby.

One of the interesting things about HS rugby in Southern California is how it is split into three seasons - you’ve got your single-school season that runs December through February, your club season after that, and then, like everyone else has, the select-side season.

For coaches of club and single-school teams alike, the frustration is that many players opt to play only the school season, and don’t graduate up to club. Since the school season is short - six games plus playoffs - players don’t get a lot of game time.


But every now and then, you see something happen within this system that makes you think it’s working.

John Hickman is one example. The hard-running back from St. Augustine HS has blossomed in part because of his exposure to the club level. And because of that, a talented football player is now seriously looking at rugby in college, instead.

“John’s a strong athlete, with really good speed,” said St. Augustine Coach Eric Dent. “With his physical skills, he’s a great addition to the team, but his best attribute may be his leadership qualities that he brings to the team.”

St. Augustine finished 2-3-1 in Southern California’s Varsity Red Conference, and were a little unlucky not to be 4-2 and in the conversation for playing in the final. Hickman was possibly their best player.

“Last year we knew what we wanted to do and had a good game plan,” Hickman told Goff Rugby Report. “This year we were younger so there were some things we needed to learn. I learned a lot about being a veteran player. Before I would just go out and play my hardest. But this year I learned to be more vocal, to be more of a leader, and work with guys for all of us to focus as a team.”

Now that the season is over, he is looking at college, and that’s something many more players are doing - combining rugby and college. Hickman is looking at several schools, including UCLA, San Diego State, Point Loma Nazarene, and Arizona - all good schools, and all with good rugby programs.

“Coach Dent is really big on college for us,” said Hickman. “We all talk about playing rugby in college, and it’s an important part of our decision-making.”

Hickman will play club for the San Diego Young Aztecs, and it’s a club he enjoys playing for as he gets to play with some players who helped other Varsity Red teams. In previous years, football training precluded his playing club rugby, but as a senior he doesn’t have to worry about that. 

“I miss those guys,” he said. “I think that the club season is important for guys because you get more experience with the game. I feel like I can play well, but I know I need more experience, and I know I need to learn more. Football took me away from rugby in the spring, but not now, so I know this is going to be a fun year.”

John Hickman is our Eagle Impact Rugby Academy Player of the Week.