Glued to his games console night and day, Adam Brocklebank decided he needed a change. Four years later he is propping for Newcastle Falcons
A self-confessed teenage slob who was glued to his games console every hour of the day, four years of hard work have earned Adam Brocklebank a contract with Newcastle Falcons.
The 19-year-old had never even touched a rugby ball before the age of 15, his remarkable rise to the top seeing him capped by England Students and winning a scholarship at Durham University.
Currently in the midst of
a gruelling pre-season with the Falcons having signed a one-year senior academy deal, the loose-head prop revealed: “I was just a typical kid, getting home from school and playing Xbox all night.
“I did absolutely nothing outside of that and one day I just decided I needed a change. I took GCSE PE at school and things took off from there. It has all happened quite quickly.”
Only taking up rugby because it was the nearest sports club to his front door, he said: “Because I took PE I had to play a sport outside of school, and the closest place I could do that was Ormskirk RFC.
“They weren’t in a very good league but it was a great introduction to the game, and from there I went to Myerscough College. I spent two years there, becoming captain in my second year, and played Under-18s for England Clubs and Schools.
“That helped me get a scholarship at Durham University, where I am studying sport, exercise and physical activity, and following my first year at Durham I got selected for England Students against France. Newcastle Falcons began to show an interest, I played a reserve games for them against Northampton and Saracens last season and have now signed a one-year contract with their senior academy.”
A novice to front-row play who admits he is still grappling with some of the basics, Brocklebank knows he is in the right place.
“I played in the back-row to begin with, and because I started in the lower leagues it was easier to get used to,” he said.
“It was only last year when I began to play prop. Ormskirk’s head coach Donny Sutherland was coaching me at Myerscough. We just went into the team room before a game and I was told I was playing prop that week. I put on the No 1 shirt and just went from there.
“It was tough to begin with, not knowing what to do. You pick up your technique as you go along, and working with Micky Ward at the Falcons has been great. He has adjusted a few things to help me fine tune and I look forward to working with him a bit more.”
Aware he has a long way to go despite his rapid rate of progression, Brocklebank fully appreciates there may be a plateau in his graph.
“For the moment I am in the senior academy and just keeping my head down, learning the ropes and working hard. Hopefully something might come of it further down the line, but all I can do right now is just get on with showing what I can do, and improving,” he said.
“I have my university academic timetable which I will keep to and my training with the uni side, then whenever I can I will train with the Falcons.
“At the moment I am training every day with Newcastle during pre-season, which was pretty brutal to begin with. I had just come back from three weeks in California, eating rubbish, and it has been tough but enjoyable.
“Because I was in bad nick after my holiday I have been in the top-up training group, and as well as the gym and conditioning work we have also been doing skills sessions. It works your handling when you are fatigued, and it is all good fun.”
Durham University alumnus Simon Hammersley offers an ideal role model having taken the Premiership by storm in his first season after graduating, and Brocklebank has the perfect chance to tap into the knowhow of his fellow Palatinate.
He said: “I am living with Hammers at the moment so it is useful to speak to him about that side of things. He comes back to Durham Uni and speaks to the boys, and obviously I can learn from his experience.
“I want something to come of this year, being at the Falcons, and I am going to try my best. I am determined to learn as much as I can and look to improve myself.”