Schoolboy Spotlight Q&A: Ryan Dugmore gets to know St Andrew’s captain and scrumhalf Ryan Dugmore.

What’s been the highlight of your rugby career so far?
Definitely captaining St Andrew’s 1st XV this year. I’ve been playing for the side for three years, so to cap it off with the captaincy is a privilege.

How do you feel about the captaincy?
It’s all the more special because I’m leading guys who I’ve been with through the age groups and we are good friends. It’s a great environment and in terms of enjoyment the best side I’ve been a part of.

Does being a scrumhalf help with the captaincy?
I think it makes it easier – I’m always in the thick of it and form the link between the forwards and backs so, being heavily involved, the position really lends itself to the role.

What are the strengths of your game?
Passing, as with any scrumhalf, but I’d say my decision making and defence. I work hard on being quick off the line and I don’t miss one-on-ones. I pride myself on being in the right place at the right time.

What do you feel you need to work on?
I’d like to work on my kicking game. Having a better boot would add another dimension to my game.

Who’s your toughest opponent?
Either Selborne College or Grey PE. They’re both great schools and you can always expect a physical match from them. They have great rugby cultures and plenty of depth.

What’s your earliest rugby memory?
I played backyard rugby with my dad when I was small, but scoring a try in my first U9 match is something that sticks out.

Which player do you want to emulate?
[Former All Blacks scrumhalf] Byron Kelleher has a very physical style of play. He’s confrontational and solid defensively, and I enjoy that.

You also star for the St Andrew’s 1st XI, while captaining the side. Does cricket take precedence over your rugby?
Balancing the two is hard, especially considering the demands of schoolwork, but they don’t have much of a cross-over so the combination isn’t that disruptive. I manage my time well and have learnt to switch my rugby and cricket brains on and off when I need to.

Which sport do you see in your future?
It’s a very tough decision to make: I’m passionate about my rugby and cricket. The Sharks Academy has approached me, but I see myself more as a cricketer and things are panning out that way. I have the SA 19 cricket training camp after the Saints festival, and I’ve been approached by Somerset in England, but nothing’s certain yet. There seems to be a natural path for me in cricket, but I won’t rule out a career in rugby. No doors are closed.

What are your goals outside of sport?
I’d definitely like to study. Currently I aim to take a gap year in 2011 for cricket in England then come back and study – ideally business science at the University of Cape Town.

By Rory Keohane