The Jump: Former TWHS rugby star Kieran Farmer goes pro
By Todd James on March 19, 2018 2:44 pm
Jumping directly from high school to the pros doesn’t happen anymore.Even the best high school players in their respective sports have to trudge through the minor leagues or play at least a mandatory season of college before joining “The Show.”Having just turned 19-years-old, Kieran Farmer has made the jump from playing high school rugby in 2017 to making the official roster of Major League Rugby’s Houston Sabercats.
Farmer was named best back in Texas Rugby in 2016 and 2017. It was during the high school championship match last May where Sabercats’ coach Justin Fitzpatrick first noticed Farmer playing the fly-half position.
“Kieran had a great weekend for The Woodlands and they ultimately won the championship,” said Fitzpatrick, on VYPE’s Locker Talk Radio podcast. “I made a note of who this kid was and when we invited him to our summer (rugby) combines he did very well.
“At the international level, it’s not unusual to see younger athletes make the jump to professionals as a 19 or 20-year-old. International rugby is little bit different in that regard to American football.”
Farmer’s international journey came from a Scottish upbringing.
Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, his father worked in the energy industry. As a result, his family moved to Azerbaijan when Farmer was only six. It was there where Farmer was invited to play for a friends’ team made up of Scottish expatriates.
Farmer brought his athletic skills to The Woodlands in the sixth grade and ended up playing for the local youth rugby club. Farmer would excel at the club level before making the ultimate jump to the professional Sabercats, whose exhibition season started in January.
“Obviously the level of play is a lot higher at this level with speed and strength,” said Farmer, a four-time MVP for The Woodlands. “These are grown men who are smart with their tactics and how they manage their game. It has been a big adjustment.”
Farmer had the advantage of playing for a highly-organized and developed squad during his high school years under coach Phil Beck and club director Frank Rizzo.
“Kieran came to us as a highly- skilled youth athlete where he was able to dominate immediately from the fly-half position,” said Rizzo. “But his true asset came with his leadership skills through encouragement and work ethic.
“When you’re the best player and you’re the hardest worker on the team, there’s no better motivation from a coaching perspective.”
Rizzo believes Farmer is in a great situation with the Sabercats, where success will ultimately come with time and practice.
“Coach Fitzpatrick is the greatest coach in the world when it comes to strategy and player development,” Rizzo said. “Kieran’s fan base is going to grow outside of The Woodlands very quickly and I believe he has the potential to be an outstanding international player within a few years. He’s that talented.”
The Houston Sabercats are part of the newly formed Major League Rugby whose inaugural season begins April 21.
For more information on the Houston Sabercats, visit their website at HoustonSabercats.com. Feature photo provided by Houston Sabercats.
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