Travis Lehman Interview

Our first interview for 2008 is with Stanford University’s Travis Lehman. We would like to thank Travis for taking time out and contributing to this site. It is an outstanding interview and we wish Travis and Stanford the best of luck for the rest of their season.

How long have you been playing rugby?

I have been playing rugby for about 11 years now; I started at the age of 9.

What influenced you to start playing rugby?

I had just moved to New Zealand, and rugby is of course the national sport and way of life down there. My friends convinced me to try out for the team (according to them, soccer was for wimps) and I haven’t looked back since.

What are the best things about playing rugby?

There are a few aspects of rugby that particularly stand out to me: - The flow of the game, which forces you to make decisions and act on them within split seconds. - The bonds that you form with your teammates – most of the guys I have played rugby with are brothers on and off the field. - The social aspect of rugby on a wider scale. It is one of the only sports in the world that you can play virtually anywhere, and once you find a club to play for rugby provides a built in social network.

- The hits.

Do you think you will continue playing rugby once you have finished college?

I will continue playing rugby until for at least a decade after university, or until injuries force me out. Then I plan to start coaching.

Who have been the biggest influences in your career?

My first friends in NZ who convinced me to play, and are still great friends today. My dad, who has supported me in every sport I have played and learnt the rules of the game right along with me. And my coaches and teammates at Stanford University, who have been some of my best friends in college and no doubt will be after.

Do you watch rugby on TV?

Yes, we have Setanta in the rugby clubhouse and I watch games whenever I can. I was in England during the World Cup so was able to catch every game from the quarters on.

Who is your favorite team? The All Blacks. The Auckland Blues are second.

Who is your favorite player?

Josh Kronfeld, Zinzan Brooke and Christian Cullen were my favorite players when I first started. Right now Richie McCaw.

What’s your opinion on the state of American rugby?

Whenever I talk about American rugby with friends from NZ or with people from outside the US, the subject inevitably turns to how long it will take for us to become a superpower. Many people outside the States think that because of our large population and the athletic talent we obviously have in our country we will inevitably become the best in the world. I wish I could share those sentiments but at this stage I think that it would require, at the minimum, an established professional league within the US (which I don’t think will happen anytime soon). However, I am heartened by the continual growth of college rugby, and from what I have heard about the restructuring of the National team selection and training process.

Would you like to represent the USA Eagles at any stage?

I would love to represent the USA Eagles – I am not sure if it is a realistic goal but you never know what the future holds.

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