Dads inspire sons to live their Rugby dreams
Alex Coles and Jasper Dix
Alex Coles with his Dad Alasdair arriving at the Eiffel Tower in Paris after their charity bike ride
Jasper's Dad David Dix, playing for Gordon vs Easts in 1995
Jasper's Dad David Dix, playing for Gordon vs Randwick in 1995
Like father like son is a well-known cliché, but for Sixth Formers Jasper Dix, 17, and Alex Coles, 17, their fathers have both played a crucial role in motivating and inspiring them towards being a success. As well as playing Rugby for The Perse, both students play for Northampton Saints under 18 Academy and have joined the England Rugby Union under 18 Training Camps.
Jasper was inspired to play Rugby by his father, David Dix, who played for Gordon in The Shute Shield competition back in 1995, in New South Wales, Australia. His Dad also played in the Australian Schoolboys team and the Australia squad for the European Tour in 1989. Following in his Dad’s footsteps has come naturally for Jasper, who says it’s great they both share a passion for the sport: “It’s fun to look back at old newspaper cuttings with pictures of Dad playing Rugby when he was younger and living in Australia. It’s good to hear stories of when Dad played and it’s really motivating for me when I’m on the pitch as I know he’s really proud of me.”
Jasper, who is also Head Boy at The Perse, played in the Aviva Premiership Rugby Sevens Series last summer and hopes one day to get a professional contract with Northampton Saints. He says that Rugby gives him the opportunity to encourage and inspire others to achieve their best: “There’s a great sense of friendship and comradery when you play. Most of us who play for the school are in the same classes and it brings you closer together as a group of friends sharing those experiences. Being involved with Northampton and The Perse 1st XV, means that I can hopefully encourage younger pupils in the school to play Rugby as well. The game offers something for everyone whether big or small and there’s definitely a growing buzz about rugby at The Perse”
Rugby is also a passion and way of life for Alex, who represented England in the under 16’s last year and is looking forward to joining the England under 18 selection camps in the spring.
Alex’s passion for sport also comes from his father, who is a keen marathon runner and cyclist. This summer Alex joined his father Alasdair, on a charity cycle ride from London to Paris to raise money for Family Life UK. Alex and his Dad joined 24 other cyclists to raise money for a charity that helps strengthen relationships and support families. Alex said the trip really helped to strengthen his relationship with his Dad, at the same time as raising over £3K towards the group total of £60K.
“My Dad and I wanted to do something together and I remember finishing the race in Paris, side by side, which was such a great feeling. It was good having some quality time with my Dad and raising money for charity at the same time. We finished the race in just four days. The hardest parts were in the grim weather cycling through the traffic of London, but in France the weather was warm and we were cycling through open countryside.”
Alex and Jasper both train hard throughout the year, and benefit from the input and support of staff at The Perse and Northampton Saints. Alex explains: “At Northampton we have a whole team of people helping us to develop our strength & conditioning, a nutritionist who gives us advice to keep us well fueled and as healthy as possible.”
Alex, who joined The Perse in Year 7, says that playing Rugby for the school is his real passion:
“School rugby is the most important thing for me, even though I play at a higher level, I know people here at school so well and I want to win for them because it’s such a good feeling to win in a team with all of your friends. The 1st XV have made a really strong start to the season and then we’re going on tour to South Africa in the summer, so there’s lots to look forward to over the season.”
Alex and Jasper are looking forward to playing with The Perse First Team this season and are aiming high, hoping to bring home the NatWest Vase. The side defeated local rivals The Leys 35-14 in the second round of the competition and will now face Langley School after the half-term break.