From ledgers to lineouts: HFL's Vikings Captain on the Pitch
15 September 2023
Matt Lomas, HFL Fund Administrator, discusses the upcoming rugby season and his captain role for Guernsey’s St. Jacques Vikings rugby team.
With the Rugby World Cup games coming thick and fast, we have spoken to HFL’s Fund Administrator, Matt Lomas about the upcoming season and his captain role for Guernsey’s St. Jacques Vikings rugby team.
Following on from an extremely successful season last year, Matt is keen to rekindle with the rest of the team and pick up where they left off. The Vikings managed to finish the season unbeaten and have no desire to let those standards drop this year, pushing for back-to-back promotions.
As well as targeting promotion, Matt expressed his desires to keep encouraging players around him to develop themselves and improve.
‘A massive one for me is seeing young people who are new to rugby coming down and playing. We’ve got a lot of young talent coming through, which is great to see, and I just want to see them improve as much as possible.
‘It doesn’t matter what age they are, anyone can come down and we can help them in whatever way they want.’
The Vikings have a wide range of experience amongst the group, and as the captain, Matt takes a key role in helping younger players develop their skills, feel comfortable and happy.
‘I don't want to put a lot of pressure on people. We were all once in their shoes and it's just about encouragement and getting them to ask as many questions as possible. We want everyone to speak up, get involved and feel included.’
St Jacques played their first and only pre-season match of the season against London’s Beccehamians Rugby Club last Saturday in a tight 33-32 victory at home. Despite falling behind multiple times, the Vikings dug deep and showed their togetherness amongst the team to fight for the win.
‘It's just about getting everyone together and the camaraderie around training to carry on to the pitch for game days.’
Being a captain entails roles both on and off the pitch, and for Matt that involves making sure everyone remains in a positive headspace.
‘Mental health is massive to us. It's a big thing in rugby and we're trying to do the best we can to make sure everyone feels safe and welcome.
‘You spend so much time together that you can usually tell if someone’s feeling down or that they can’t say anything. It’s important to pick up on these things and check up on people, whether that be dropping a few messages or going out for some food or a drink. As a team we need to make sure everyone is okay.’
Despite rugby taking up such a large part in Matt’s life, the club still understands that the players have work commitments which can sometimes limit their availability.
‘Personally, work does come first and obviously I want to progress in my career as much as possible as well as performing at a high level on the pitch for St. Jacques. Thankfully, HFL is also very understanding that staff are wanting to pursue their interests outside of the office and HFL’s encouragement and support of this is important and the company sees the benefits this has on their people.’
Matt’s coming up to two years at HFL and is extremely grateful for their flexibility with his activities outside of the office. HFL understand the importance of keeping active and social after office hours and see the benefits it can have for their employees.