Name: David Flatman
Clubs: Saracens, Bath
National: England (8 Caps)
You’ve retired from the game as a professional, what are you up to now and do you still have any connections to the game?
I'm now very lucky to be involved in the media surrounding rugby union. I love writing and talking about the game and have never been shy of an opinion.
I guess this gives me an outlet of sorts and it keeps me around the kind of people whose company I've come to enjoy. I also do a lot of corporate and ambassadorial work, which I also very much enjoy. This keeps my working life varied and challenging, two things I definitely need to feel happy and motivated.
Growing up, was rugby your main focus when it came to sport or were there other games you preferred?
It was all rugby. I was a big lad so never really made the grade in any other sports. Looking back, I wish I'd pushed harder with cricket, swimming and perhaps boxing - something I did as a young teenager. This would undoubtedly have helped my hand/eye coordination, my flexibility and my cardio capacity, which was awful!
Which grassroots clubs were you a member of and do you still stay in touch with the club?
Maidstone and Sevenoaks, both in Kent. I'm barely in contact, to be honest, which I’d like to change. What doesn't help is that I work when they gather to play - I still don't have my weekends!
What are your memories of those clubs?
I loved them, especially Sevenoaks as, in my age group at least, there were more players turning up, more coaches coaching and generally more desire to train and play. I chose to leave Maidstone as a thirteen year old as so often I'd arrive and games would be cancelled due to lack of numbers. It would break me, so my Dad said 'enough!'
What is that stands out for you as some of the aspects of amateur rugby that make it such a passion for so many?
I think the trust you need in your team mates and the places you physically go together on the field promotes an automatic and close bond that is difficult to manufacture in, say, a corporate environment. In fact, plenty of people are paid plenty of money in the business world to try to create the cultures and trust that come naturally to rugby players.
Will you go back and play grassroots rugby again and do you miss playing?
No I won't!! My body is badly damaged by rugby and even now I'm looking at further surgery to abate the pain I'm left with post-career. No complaints, but no more rugby. I loved it but don't miss it one bit.
It was so blood hard at professional level! Not having that pain and that pressure anymore is blissful, to be honest. I wouldn't swap what I did for all those years, but you couldn't pay me to do it all again. I'm happy with the effort I put in, with what I achieved and to have left it behind.
What do you think of the service that E4R provides clubs, do you think it is needed?
Anything that tries to make a big difference to rugby at the grassroots level is creating something of value in my opinion. There don’t seem to be many people out there doing what the guys at E4R are doing and it’s good to see people who have been given the chance to take a huge amount from the game giving so much back and making such a big difference.