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Video: Harry Hocking Highlights and Interview

Harry, thanks for taking the time for this interview so I guess we will start at the beginning. What is your earliest rugby memory?

My earliest rugby memory would be under 7’s playing a bit of tag on small pitches down in Perranporth in Cornwall. We all had different ideas on the game and all I remember was people running wherever they wanted and parents shouting which way to go.

Tell us a bit about your school rugby career, what rep teams did you play for etc.

I played for Penzance and Newlyn youth section up from under 13’s – 16’s. During that time playing for my county of Cornwall a year up in the centre. I then moved onto Truro college where it was just a completely different vibe, it was all rugby, gym and a brotherhood. I can’t thank the coaches there enough for what they have done for me and the exposure they have given me. During my time at college, I managed to get my first senior game for Exeter Braves against the Royal Navy at Sandy Park.

As you know NextGenXV is covering both the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere in terms of schools rugby. Have you ever done much following of South African school rugby? If so, what are your thoughts?

I’ve always watched the highlights on YouTube, my favourite game would be the Paarl Derby, I think last year when it was decided with a touch line kick at the end. I’ve spoke to a few of the boys out there as well, Kaylim Cordier and Eben Tshimanga. They’re both solid boys who know what they want and both have the drive to succeed in the game. I think that’s a difference between the South African and English school boy game, the Boks have a better drive within, I guess it’s pounded into them by their parents straight away.

You recently signed pro terms with Exeter Chiefs, how has the transition from school rugby to academy rugby been?

The transition has been smooth, I have a set program to follow with a higher running load and weights volume to get me up to speed. But I’ve also had experience training with the first team at Exeter a few times during my time at college when I was called in to get a feel of what it’s like and the speed.

What is your favorite school rugby memory?

My favourite schoolboy memory would be our semi-final loss away to Hartpury college (20-21) . We last went up there and lost by 40 points. It’s a hard place to go and they’re all big physical boys. But we were so relentless and were on top throughout. We just couldn’t execute. We missed a touch line kick at the end to win, but we weren’t sad about that it was the fact we put our bodies on the line for 80 mins flat out. I won’t ever forget the huddle after, the brotherhood in arms, feeling proud, overwhelmed and emotional at the same time.

Who in your opinion are the top prospects for the 20/21 season we should keep an eye out for?

There’s a few boys coming up, at Truro college there’s Bailey Williams, Ben Grubb and Milo Hallam who were all part of the England 17’s this year but across English school boys as a whole, I’d keep an eye on Orlando Bailey.

When we saw your footage it reminded us a lot of Malcolm Marx in playing style. Which pro players do you look up to and model your game off?

My main model would be Ellis Genge and Luke Cowan-Dickie, they both have that aggressiveness and they’re like a live wire. I’m like that when I play, I love hitting things as hard as I can and as fast as I can, I get a buzz out of being ruthless on the pitch.

Who has been the biggest influence on your rugby career so far?

It would be my old academy manager Robin Cowling, he put me in the right direction always and disciplined me when I was at college. He’s been a real help for me and where I have got to so far.

FIRE ROUND

My last ever meal would be: smoked BBQ ribs, beans, mash and grilled veg.

If I could meet one person it would be: Bradley Cooper I don’t know why he just seems cool

My favourite music is: country

If I wasn’t pursuing a career in rugby I would be: I’d look into marine biology and conservation of tropical reefs.

A position I would never want to play: Winger, wouldn’t want to stand around doing nothing or embarrass my opposite number on the outside.

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