Bossing forwards around the park is part and parcel for a scrum-half, but teenager Ollie Fox says doing it to adults has been the major thing to get head around this season.
The England U18s half-back plays a high tempo game which requires his pack to hit the rucks hard to ensure quickly recycled ball to potentially catch the opposition napping.
His senior Carnegie debut came against Newport Gwent Dragons last December while still at school and since leaving sixth form college where he took A-levels in psychology, history and PE, Fox has started his first full season in senior rugby in National Two North playing on loan with Huddersfield.
“It’s a massive challenge to go from England U18s rugby to the senior level, especially when it comes to managing men rather than boys your own age” Fox told The Rugby Paper.
“I’m reviewing games all the time with the coaches at Carnegie and everything is going well so far. I’ve played quite a bit for Huddersfield already and I’m enjoying it.
“I’m in the swing of things now having gotten to know the players and for them to know who I am and how I play the game. I really enjoy playing with a high tempo and impact on the game by injecting a lot of pace. It was easy to do at U18 level because everyone is always keen to have a go. But you can’t do that as much in senior rugby so I’m learning to pick my battles better.”
Fox toured South Africa with England U18s in August and is keen to kick on for higher honours.
He added: “The tour to South Africa was brilliant because it opened my eyes to another way of playing rugby. I’m still very young but I’ve learnt a lot from those three weeks and I’m a better player for it.
“I played a couple of games for Carnegie in the B&I Cup last season and I hope I can add to that this season. The first team squad is pretty small this season so I should get some good opportunities to play for them during the season.”
Despite his sporting aspirations, Fox is fully aware his rugby career can be over in a flash so he’s remained in education by enrolling in a Sport, Exercise and Science degree at Leeds Beckett University.
He added: “You never know what’s going to happen so I always thought I’d be going to University once I left school, which is encouraged by Carnegie.
“If anything not playing full-time keeps you interested in the game because that’s something extra you do. I want to be known as a person rather than just a rugby player.
“Playing rugby is great but my education has to take priority. “I’m quite good when it comes to time management so I’m confident I’ll be able to combine studying fulltime with playing rugby quite well.”