Last week it was announced that Ulster’s Tom Court would be making the short journey across the Irish Sea, having signed a 3 year contract with London Irish for the start of the 2014/15 season.
The Ireland prop has been with Ulster since 2006 and made his international debut in 2009, followed by a call-up to the 2011 RWC squad and an appearance against his country of birth, Australia. Last year also saw Croft called up as cover for the British & Irish Lions, great reward for a player who once had Olympic trials as a shotputter.
Before his switch to the Premiership next season, we caught up with Tom to talk footwear and his views on coloured rugby boots.
How is your season going so far?
As hoped and leading to a very exciting finale. Ulster’s form could have been better at times within the Pro12. The Heineken Cup is looking very promising and I cannot wait for the home Quarter-final (against Saracens). Personally, with more experience I’ve become more consistent and feel energised about a strong back end of the season.
Excited about your move to London Irish next season?
It’s a very exciting yet emotional move. I’ve spent almost my entire professional career in Belfast which is now my home. Obviously living and playing a sport you love in London is a mouth-watering prospect but I’ve tried not to think about it too much as there’s plenty to do with Ulster first and I’d like to have the dream exit of finishing with a trophy.
Why did you choose to wear the Mizuno Timaru?
Mizuno have been producing elite performance footwear for some time and the comfort provided by both rugby boots and trainers is hard to beat.
How long have you been wearing Mizuno boots?
I’ve been wearing Mizuno on and off since I started playing rugby. I have tried many different brands and models but have always come back to Mizuno due to their reliability and comfort.
My primary focus in boots would be comfort and performance. Wearing size 13/14 boots makes it difficult to be fussy sometimes. Appearance usually doesn’t worry me but fluoro boots will never help a props credibility. Keep them for touch and training.
Do you prefer black boots?
As a playing boot, yes. Coloured boots are for the backs. Props rarely want to attract attention to their feet.
Best prop you have faced in your career so far?
Sylvain Marconnet. He was an extremely talented, versatile and gritty prop that always made your job difficult.
Any advice for young props starting their career?
Convert to the back row. If that doesn’t work, focus on your core, total body strength and handling skills. And never give up…..