Player Profile - Meet Hubert Buydens
Let’s start with a “younger” Hubert’s likes and dislikes, or at least his opinions as a Saskatchewan Husky, back in University days!
.......then Hubert at work!
The Ruggernut recently caught up with Hubert on a B.C. ferry and “put him through his paces” and we bring you snippets of that conversation. Hubert was born in Saskatoon and remains “Rider Pride” despite living in Victoria.
CW: As a successful Husky football player, no doubt you had your mind set on a CFL career. What were your CFL connections? HB: “Actually, I only trialed with the Lions but it didn’t work out and at that time I had developed rugby as my “second sport”, so it seemed natural to pursue a rugby career. Linemen were getting “bigger and bigger” but I don’t think that was a factor. As it has turned out, I have travelled the world, met a wide range of people, much more interesting….if I had played in the CFL, I would have only learned about the best eating places in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Hamilton and Ottawa, the extent of travel - a little boring!” (Ed. Buydens is far from boring!)
CW: So, how long have you been playing rugby? HB: “Our family, the kids, had a habit of playing seasonal sports…you know, hockey in winter, slow pitch in summer for me. I tried my hand at soccer and lacrosse, and then rugby came along. I was introduced to play at the Wild Oats by a High School mate, Brendan Marcoux. (Brendan had two seasons with Cowichan then moved to Victoria where he played with Ceedub for three seasons…yonks ago!) I was soon hooked on rugby, my new summer sport”.
CW: Seems you rose to the top in a hurry…can you paint your National Team career? HB:” I received my first Cap in 2006 after playing with the Prairie Fire and now have 25 Caps (I think!).” CW: Your ability has taken you to many places, currently to the Provincial team of Manawatu in N.Z. Tell us a little about this experience. HB: “Actually, it is my second stint in N.Z. I had played club rugby for one season with New Plymouth Old Boys. This time around it is at a higher level, IPM Cup Competition which is one step below Super XVI. I had three starts and one off the bench last season. I have to go back in April to play with a club team in the area, Te kawau RFC and then we move into inter-Provincial play.”
CW: What are some highlights of leading a pro rugby life? HB: “It is a good lifestyle. The emphasis is on fitness, skills, technique and preparation. Players work hard but we do have free time which lets you pursue your interests.” Is there a difference between preparation in N.Z. and the kind of thing that is going on at Westhills? “Westhills has been great for R.C. Players work hard under guidance and improvement in our National game has been evident. When Canada is on tour, I would say our preparation for each game is even more thorough than perhaps what takes place week in and week out, at The Turbos.”
CW: Is there a big difference between Manawatu’s Tomasi (“Junior”) Cama (N.Z. 7’s champion playmaker) and Canada’s Connor Trainor? HB: “Give me Trainor, he works very hard and is a great team mate. That is not to knock Junior, a super talented player who seems to do things so naturally. Perhaps that is the difference, Junior has been throwing the ball around, jinking and faking on the hard grounds of Fiji with bare feet since he could barely run, he has had a ball in his hand and that is often the difference between Canadian players and others. Also, lack of top competition and semi or professional culture holds us back.”
CW: Arguably in the last RWC, your performance was the pick of the pack. Where to from now? HB: “It is full on footy for the moment and hopefully I will stay healthy until next year’s RWC and be selected for the team and we’ll see were it goes after that!”
CW: We at CW are very happy that your degree in Sociology pointed you to accept Coach Lindwall’s plea of; “Get out here, we need a prop!” Sociologically insightful of you to respond! This was some eight year’s ago. How has the CW experience been? HB: “Excellent. It has been a home away from home – good friends, good support and good competition”.
Thanks, Hubert, for your leadership, sharing of your experience and infectious enthusiasm for rugby at CW. Best of luck to you!