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Blyth set to tackle rugby full time after graduation

Angus Blyth
Angus Blyth at his graduation ceremony 

Angus Blyth traded his footy boots and training strip for a gown and mortar board to join his graduating cohort at Bond University.

The Bachelor of Commerce graduate tossed his hat in the air, posed for a few photos with his family and friends and the celebrations ended there.

Much the same as when he completed his final exam, the Queensland Reds backrower and Bond Bull Sharks captain acknowledged his final university milestone with a brief smile of relief and then it was back to business.

“For me there was no big moment, where there was a let-your-hair-down finish,” he said.

“I looked forward to that moment when I get handed my degree and shake some hands.

“It was a relief and also a very proud moment for me and I believe the things I have learned here will benefit me greatly in my post-playing career. 

“But now I am looking forward to the chance to focus full time on rugby for the first time in seven years.”

Since enrolling at Bond University in 2017 the towering forward has juggled one of the more demanding study-train-and-travel schedules you could imagine. 

In the early days as he fought to establish himself as a bona fide Super Rugby player he found the lecture theatres, libraries and textbooks offered him a haven from the stress of football.   

“I think it is very important for all athletes to have a life balance,” he said.

“Pro sport can take so much of your time, and it is good to have something else to put your mind to and for me it has been great to be able to take a step back from rugby and focus on something else.”

In recent years as he has become a mainstay of the Reds pack, even captaining the squad on their post-season tour of Japan last year, it became harder and harder to give his academic and sporting pursuits the time they deserved.

It was during those times that he discovered the lessons he was learning as a student at Bond University weren’t all coming from lectures.  

“When I started my degree I was part-time at the Reds and playing with the Bull Sharks and it was manageable, but going full-time with the Reds it became more challenging,” he said.

“There’s been plenty of times where it has been hard doing exam prep and assignments from airports, or hotel rooms and overseas in New Zealand or Japan.

“But it is a lesson that really sets you up for life in general.

“It really increases your time management skills, and you learn a lot about what you can handle.”

Blyth came to Bond University through the John Eales Rugby Excellence Scholarship, an initiative he happily acknowledges not only changed his life, but has played an invaluable role in the rise of the Bull Sharks in Queensland Premier Rugby. 

“There can be a lot of ups and downs in sport - injuries, non-selection - these things can take a toll on the mental side of things and to have a post-playing career plan has been great for me and I am extremely grateful to John Eales and Terry Jackman for the scholarship,” he said.

“It is also a great asset to the rugby club to be able to offer that scholarship.

“It is a rugby excellence scholarship and that brings great talent to the university and the rugby club and I think every recipient over the years have been fine additions to the club and each has made a great contribution.

“Throughout Year 12 and coming out of school, not everyone has worked out the path they are going to take and I found the structure of that scholarship and the fact it would benefit my rugby and my education gave me something to strive for.

“And when I was successful, it put me onto such a great pathway into professional rugby. 

“I have learnt so much in my time at Bond rugby club that has helped me in my professional career.”

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