Saracens summer recruit Kieran Longbottom has recently been introduced to his new teammates after the 28-year old prop forward started preseason training following his arrival from Perth, Australia, writes Matthew Hennessey.
Signed from the Western Force, Longbottom arrives in England after leaving the Perth based side after six years at his hometown club.
“Saracens are a great Club,” said Longbottom, “I got the opportunity to come and play here and it was something that I just couldn’t pass up, so I took the chance. I’ve been hearing about Saracens since I’ve been playing rugby, especially back in Australia. It was a tough decision. I didn’t expect anything like this move to come up and then this opportunity came along.
“You want to test yourself against the best in the world, especially being a forward. Down Under you always hear about the European forwards work at the scrum so it’s great opportunity to test myself and see how I go with a view to becoming a better player”.
He added; “I’d love to help Saracens get back into finals again. I was able to watch those finals last season and if we can go one better this year then that would be awesome. I’d love to assist in any way I can to do that and do whatever I can to keep the Club moving forward and be a good servant to Saracens”.
Longbottom made the move to Saracens from his native town of Perth, and although he says he’ll miss old friends and the Australian climate, he hopes his move can help him grow on a personal level, both off and on the pitch.
“Playing for the Western Force was pretty special as I was playing for my hometown team and state,” he said. “I left good friends there, mates that I’ll miss, but this is a new adventure which gives me the chance to see more of the world, meet new people and most importantly develop myself as a player and as a person.
“The intensity will still be there. It’s a more forward orientated game in Europe and I know that I’ll have to bring the same amount of work rate, the same amount of intensity, and adapt to some different philosophies of how you approach the game.
“Preseason has been good so far, I’ve only just got started and they are easing me back in. The main difference is of course the temperature. In Perth, in preseason you are usually training in 35C+ drowning in sweat, but over here it’s a little bit cooler which is nicer and I’ve really enjoyed it. I haven’t even seen snow, and I’m told that you may have to play in it now and again so that’ll be a new experience, but most things will stay the same”.
He added; “My first impression of the Club is everyone is very welcoming. All the boys have been super nice and they’ve all been trying to find out how I’ve been settling in, what my living arrangements are, little things like that – I can only thank everyone for how they’ve treated me so far”.