Guy Porter returns to the Leicester Tigers line-up for a European Challenge Cup semi-final on Friday evening in another chapter in his “whirlwind” first year at the club.
He only arrived in Leicester last summer and the year-long lockdown means his experiences beyond training and playing are unusually thin, but the nature of the rugby programme in that time means he has packed an awful lot in.
“I’ve not really had a chance to step back and reflect because it has been flat-out,” he says.
“But I’ve really enjoyed that. That was something about coming here – the amount of rugby and being in a programme having a clear direction on how to improve – and I’m really enjoying being part of that in a whirlwind eight or nine months.”
Born in London as the youngest in a family of four sons, Guy had just taken his first steps in minis rugby when he moved to Australia at the age of seven.
After developing through junior rugby there, he had five seasons with Sydney University where he celebrated back-to-back Shute Shield triumphs, including lifting the trophy as captain in 2019, before earning a move to the Brumbies in Super Rugby.
He had also played at Sydney Stars and Sydney Rays in the National Rugby Championship, and represented the NSW Waratahs Under-20s, before returning to England last summer.
Those experiences are part of the blend in a Tigers camp featuring players from other parts of the world alongside a strong core of men who have come through the club’s academy system or from elsewhere in English rugby.
“There are some experienced guys and guys from different corners of the world and also different insights, so there are always good conversations,” Guy says.
“You’re learning something every week, training with a new guy or a different guy, seeing how they approach the game, their strengths and how you can feed off them.
“That’s another challenge but it’s something I enjoy in a team where there are different guys stepping up week to week, and getting to interact and play with different personnel.
“Whoever is not in the 23, or might not be in it for any game, has a real onus on making sure they are across how the team is playing and a responsibility so, come the weekend when anyone gets an opportunity, we are all on the same page and moving in the same direction.”
Porter made his debut against Bath last August and scored his first try in the win over Connacht in the Challenge Cup, with his family trying to follow his progress from thousands if miles away.
“They’re not really huge rugby people, but they’re right behind Leicester Tigers now,” he says.
“They’ve done some really early morning and some midnight wake-ups, which I’m sure ruins their sleep schedule for the week, but they always let me know that they’re up, and it’s nice having them tune-in back home.”