- Nick Hancock named 2016 Amateur Player of the Year
- Hancock became captain and chairman of Plymouth Argaum
'Unfit and unhappy' is how Nick Hancock remembers his state when, at the age of 43 and at a loss after a recent divorce, he decided to turn up at his local rugby club.
"I found Plymouth Argaum RFC online and decided I should go. I hadn't played since the age of 12 but I knew that it would be good for me from a social aspect," says Hancock.
On several occasions he drove to the club only to turn the car around and head home before he finally plucked up the courage to join in.
"I remember walking into the clubhouse that first time and seeing all these young guys, experienced rugby players and even some local Royal Marines. I think they thought I was just another old, fat bloke who had come for the beer."
"We lost every game but I loved it"
After establishing that the front row was where he was destined to play, Hancock went about learning everything he could about how to prop.
He was soon a regular member of the team with his first season proving to be a baptism of fire.
"We lost every single game that season, but I loved it. I enjoyed every minute of being on the pitch and being part of the social and community atmosphere off the pitch was even more special."
Captain and Chairman
By the start of the following season Hancock was an established member of the club and was named captain of the side.
"We were all lining up by the try line and our coach said the next captain would be this young man, pointing in my direction. I couldn't believe it. It was incredible."
In his first year as skipper Plymouth Argaum won the Ellis Cup, the club's first bit of silverware in 88 years and he was named the Player of the Year.
"After a few seasons as captain I became chairman of the club. Plymouth had given me so much and I wanted to be part of helping develop it."
"Rugby has changed my life"
In the six years since he decided to walk into Plymouth Argaum, Hancock says rugby has helped turn his life around.
"I wasn't in a good place then but rugby has changed that. It has given me lifelong friends, it's given me several godchildren, it's given me a real purpose."
Hancock's journey was recognised at this year's National Rugby Awards and subsequently by World Rugby but he remains solely focused on growing the game.
"The senior side is getting better and better so it's trickier to make the first team now but I love running out when I can and in the meantime we are focused on growing our new minis and juniors section."
From rugby novice to player, club captain and chairman - all in his forties. Hancock is proof that it is never too late to get your boots back on. Find a club near you here.
Video courtesy of World Rugby.