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WELCOME TO OUR WORLD 4 - Calum Clark


By Darraghgirl
August 21 2017

  Calum Clark was born in Stockton on Tees in County Durham on 10 June 1989. H started his rugby career with Leeds Carnegie coming through their Youth teams and making his full debut in 2007. He met up with future England coach Stuart Lancaster who was Academy Coach there at the time. Calum took a Business Management Degree at Leeds University, including a dissertation on Leadership.  

He played for Leeds 23 times that season before he was called up to the England U20’s in 2008, helping the junior side to the IRB world Championship Final that year (although he also earned himself a red card for head-butting). The following year he captained the U20’s both in the Six Nations and again in the World Championships, once again reaching the final. He made a total of 34 Premiership appearances for the Yorkshire side, scoring 6 tries. He still holds the record for the youngest forward to play in the Premiership.

He moved south to join Northampton Saints in 2010 playing for them for 7 years and making 147 appearances. Sadly several injuries meant he played rather less games than he might have, although in recent years he has been relatively injury free. He has scored 10 tries.

Sadly, at least in his younger days, it wasn’t Calum’s rugby which did the talking on the field, it was his disciplinary record.  It started with that red card in the 2008 Junior World Cup and moved on to him receiving a 32 week ban in the 2012 LV Final against Leicester Tigers for fracturing Rob Hawkin’s elbow with a deliberate hyper-extension. (He escaped a longer ban –up to 5 years – because the committee felt he didn’t intend to cause the injury). He had just been named in Stuart Lancaster’s England squad but the ban put paid to any chance of an England cap. (I wonder where we’ve heard that before?)

Calum, sought help from renowned sports psychiatrist Steve Peters, the go-to man for many sportsmen, from cycling to Liverpool FC and England. Calum described his aggressive tendancies as a “chimp (sic) on his shoulder!” Interviewed in 2014, Calum said: “He was (a) pretty aggressive, (chimp) unwilling to listen, unwilling to learn. I had to be honest with myself, had to take a look in the mirror and be willing to take things on. You look at all the good players and leaders in rugby – Chris Robshaw, Richie McCaw – they seem to be emotionless on the field. Watching and being around people like that has helped me separate the two, being able to be just as aggressive, just as competitive, just as effective but with the emotion kept out of it.” Thankfully, in recent years, the chimp has mainly remained in his cage.

Calum was recalled to the England Squad in 2013 but a shoulder injury ruled him out of the National team and surgery kept him on the side lines for the rest of the season. (Saracens’ Mouritz Botha replaced Calum in the England Squad.

The following year, Calum was finally forgiven and was made Captain of the England Saxons against the Irish Wolfhounds and the following year he was included in Lancaster’s world cup squad, finally winning his only full England cap in the 19-14 victory over France in a world cup warm up in August 2015 and making his debut alongside Sam Burgess (whatever happened to him!) and Henry Slade. At the time, England forwards’ coach Graham Rowntree said “What I see now is a real maturity, a balanced character. There’s a simmering intensity with him all the time in training. But he’s learned control. He can control himself in environments.” Sadly Calum’s performance in that game wasn’t enough to save him. Allegedly Stuart Lancaster “blubbed” as he cut Calum and fellow Saints’ player Luther Burrell from the final World Cup Party. Lancaster said: “We go back to when he was 14 years old and I remember his parents driving him down to West Park. That’s the nature of being head coach. You’ve got to make tough decisions and you’ve got to make decisions you feel are right for the team.” He was voted Saints’ players’ player of the season in May 2015.

During the warm up to the following season Calum was once again on the side lines with another shoulder injury . He was expected to miss about 6 weeks but in the end he was out of the game for over a year, using some of that time to visit his girlfriend Katherine in Sierra Leone (where she was working on a charity project to rehouse some of the local people living in slums). He organised several popular beach coaching sessions and took with him donated Northampton Saints kit, making them the best-supported team in Freetown! “It’s the first new clothes some of these people have ever had” Calum said, “So it is quite cool just giving them something in a bag with a tag on. There are probably only 3 or 4 balls in the entire country. Just to take a few balls and a pump that they can blow them up with, and kits that they can make teams with:- it’s real basic stuff that we take for granted but it enables them to play”. Seeing life in Sierra Leone helped put into perspective Calum’s shoulder injury which took so long to mend.

In 2016-17, although now back to fitness, he struggled to maintain his place in the Saints team. Calum is a versatile back rower – he can play both blindside and openside. He can also cover lock. He prides himself on his fitness. “Openside helps me get my fitness into the game, getting to the breakdown quickly. I am able to play at a high tempo and keep it going through the whole game.”

Moving to Saracens  was a new challenge for Calum. "I am very fortunate to have played for a great club like Northampton. I've had a difficult 18 months on and off the field and I feel like I need a new challenge. I feel very privileged to have been given an opportunity at Saracens. They are always a difficult side to play against and I’m looking forward to taking on a new environment and getting a fresh start in the summer.” Mark McCall said "Calum is a very talented player and will fit in brilliantly here. He is still a player with a huge amount of potential and in our opinion he has his best years ahead of him."

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WELCOME TO OUR WORLD 4 - Calum Clark
TheSaracens.com (IP Logged)
21/08/2017 12:19
Latest mini-bio of one of our new guys



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2017:09:03:17:20:49 by Darraghgirl.

 
Re: WELCOME TO OUR WORLD 4 - Calum Clark
TonyTaff (IP Logged)
21/08/2017 15:18
Cheers DG, most informative.

630.67 (*) donated to the Saracens Foundation due to visits to the Sarries frontpage [www.rugbynetwork.net]

Please read and submit articles for publication. (*) As at October 31, 2016.

 
Re: WELCOME TO OUR WORLD 4 - Calum Clark
Seany_Boy0511 (IP Logged)
21/08/2017 23:04
Welcome Calum Clark sponsored by Sarries on Tour as well so let's give him a chance, I hope he has matured and is seeking a another England call up, I wish him well with Saracens and hope he gets selected and acores against Saints on 2nd September!!

 
Re: WELCOME TO OUR WORLD 4 - Calum Clark
TOKS (IP Logged)
22/08/2017 11:22
Quote:
TheSaracens.com
Latest mini-bio of one of our new guys

Don't forget that the ban for hyper-extending Rob Hawkins' arm was also halved because he had been only 17 at the time of his sending off in the Junior RWC. The problem was that he was actually 19 at the time. Judge Blackett refused to re-open the case, no doubt in return for the same holiday arrangement that Graham Hughes enjoyed during the summer of 2014.

Allegedly.

 
Re: WELCOME TO OUR WORLD 4 - Calum Clark
Dolph42 (IP Logged)
24/08/2017 21:41
Quote:
TOKS
Don't forget that the ban for hyper-extending Rob Hawkins' arm was also halved because he had been only 17 at the time of his sending off in the Junior RWC. The problem was that he was actually 19 at the time. Judge Blackett refused to re-open the case, no doubt in return for the same holiday arrangement that Graham Hughes enjoyed during the summer of 2014.
Allegedly.

Not really true. It was halved as there 'no aggravating features', it doesn't explicitly say what those are, but goes onto say that all of the standard mitigating factors are present i.e. contrition, a guilty plea and conduct at the hearing. An aggravating factor might have been judged to not have good character due to the head butt, but not necessarily (due to it being almost 4 years prior). If there was a request made to re-open the case then Blackett must have refused it as he felt the head butt being at age 19 rather than 17 would have had no effect on his decision.

 
Re: WELCOME TO OUR WORLD 4 - Calum Clark
riverlodge (IP Logged)
25/08/2017 15:25
Saint in peace

I was never one who could condone Calum's indiscretions, but I also do not 'buy' that the guy is fundamentally bad. The 'chimp' is a good description for demons that we all, in our different ways, have.

I think at age 28 and with the winning, losing and life experiences Calum has had you have got a super fit, super competitive back rower that will give his all for his team mates and is probably hitting the two year peak period of his career.

I like him, and can't help but wish him well - just not back at FG winking smiley

 
Re: WELCOME TO OUR WORLD 4 - Calum Clark
MarchingIn (IP Logged)
31/08/2017 22:46
Quote:
riverlodge
Saint in peace
I was never one who could condone Calum's indiscretions, but I also do not 'buy' that the guy is fundamentally bad. The 'chimp' is a good description for demons that we all, in our different ways, have.

I think at age 28 and with the winning, losing and life experiences Calum has had you have got a super fit, super competitive back rower that will give his all for his team mates and is probably hitting the two year peak period of his career.

I like him, and can't help but wish him well - just not back at FG winking smiley

Another Saint in peace & likewise.

Calum is not a flashy headline grabbing player, but at his best he can be truly world class around the breakdown, maul and defense. His style lends itself to Sarries and I wish he had signed just about anywhere else!

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