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New Zealander Dan Temm returned to Yorkshire after joining Yorkshire Carnegie for the 2018-19 season from Greene King IPA Championship rivals Ealing Trailfinders, having spent a season at the Trailfinders after three years with Aviva Premiership side Newcastle Falcons, where he made 22 appearances scoring two tries..
Temm originally made his name in English rugby after impressing with Otley. When he left New Zealand he was a teenage cricketer looking to spend a summer playing in the Yorkshire leagues. Six years he was playing full-time rugby with Newcastle Falcons, still scratching his head as to how he got there.
It is a lesson to all aspiring sportsmen in the art of never giving up, waiting for your chance and grabbing it when it comes. Even if it is not one you had never expected or dreamed of.
“When I was fresh out of school in New Zealand I wasn’t ready for university,” explains Temm, the easy-going flanker who has started in all three of the Falcons’ European Challenge Cup games this season.
“I had played a lot of cricket at home, my mum is English so I had the passport and I just fancied jumping over to Europe for a bit. I was trying to figure out how I could do it for free, and my cricket coach was an English guy who helped hook me up with the Warley club in Halifax.
“I had just played school cricket back home but I had played a bit of representative stuff for Rotorua, Bay of Plenty and Northern Districts. I definitely thought cricket was the route I would go down. I tried to bowl quite fast and batted in the middle order, so I did a bit of both. I coached Warley’s junior section, played for the first-team on a Saturday and in some Wednesday T20 stuff, and it was good to try something different away from home.
“When I came over it was all small grounds with soggy wickets, so it was a frustrating season for me as an 18-year-old. But I loved my time there in Halifax. It was an enjoyable summer with lots of beers and good mates, and a real good time of my life.”
Hanging around to dabble with the oval ball, Temm reveals: “Because I spent the whole summer playing cricket I never really got much time to travel round Europe, so some guys from the cricket club asked if I wanted to come and play some rugby for Old Crossleyans, who were also based in Yorkshire. The way it worked out meant I could play rugby during the winter and do a bit of travelling in the summer. It suited my lifestyle a bit better and one thing led to another.
“I went OK for Old Crossleyans, moved across to Otley, that went pretty well and then one Friday afternoon I had a call from Newcastle Falcons asking if I wanted to play for their A-team the following Monday against Northampton at Franklin’s Gardens.
“It was totally out of the blue and I was shocked to say the least. Newcastle’s academy manager Mark Laycock just said ‘get yourself to Wetherby Services and we’ll pick you up on the way’. I had only ever seen Franklin’s Gardens on TV so I was really excited, then after the game when they said ‘see you next week’ I actually thought they were joking.
“They rang the next day and invited me up for training. I started going up three days a week and after a month of that they invited me full-time.”
“I played first-team rugby for my school but I was definitely a better cricketer than a rugby player.
“I might not have many skills but a lot of rugby is about working hard and getting stuck in. I managed to do that at Old Crossleyans and Otley, and when the Falcons asked me to come and have a runaround for them I jumped at the chance.
“I am really happy now to be playing rugby for a living, although my mum sometimes doesn’t quite understand. Every time she asks about my cricket I keep telling her I play rugby every day now for a job, and it is a bit of a weird one how it has all worked out.
“The cool thing for me was to see that you don’t have to be with an academy from the age of 15 to get a crack in professional rugby. I was a late developer and was just happy that someone gave me a go.”
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