Nick Foster, the flip-flop wearing full-back, has called time on his rugby career, after 62 appearances and 31 tries with Blackheath Rugby.
‘Fozzy’ started his rugby life at Old Albanian: having joined the U7s he continued through the age groups before playing senior rugby, first with the 3rds and then with the 2nd XV. After graduating from Nottingham University, Nick started playing for OAs 1st XV and spent four seasons with them, racking up 71 league appearances and 34 tries. He also played a handful of games for Hertfordshire in the County Championship, and even made a one-off appearance for Wasps in the Premiership Cup, on top of his tour of Georgia for England Counties U20s.
Jake Lloyd, who has played with Nick since his university days, remembers seeing him on the pitch for the first time at Nottingham: “I first played with Fozzy as University Students in 2011 and it was instantly obvious how talented he was – quick, elusive and deceptively strong“.
Nick Foster and Jake Lloyd in their university days
Coming to London for work in 2018, and knowing James Shanahan from OAs, it seemed an obvious move for Nick to join Blackheath Rugby, where he quickly became a regular in the 1st XV squad, cementing his position as full-back.
Jake continues “He’s a top class player, one of the best I’ve played with, and an even better person. He has been a huge part of the team at Blackheath and will be massively missed on and off the pitch. But at least he can finally stop moaning about having to train every Tuesday!”
A safe pair of hands under the high ball, and a decent boot, Nick has all the attributes required at full-back. These showed in full during the 2022-23 season, where he helped the club in its endeavour to bounce back in to National One, scoring nine tries himself and being very much involved in many others. James Shanahan, Head Coach, says “I’ve known Fozzy for over 10 years – he’s probably the longest serving player I’ve coached. He was excellent for me at OAs and has been class at club, on and off the pitch. Great pace, amazing footwork and one of those players who makes things happen when he gets the ball: a player that you get excited about watching. He’s going to be missed by all the players and myself. Thanks for the last 10 years.”
Whilst a serious leg injury at Cinderford, followed by Covid, blighted Nick’s rugby career for a while, he came back even stronger, and immediately injected his trademark pace and width into Blackheath’s attacking play. Indeed, Markus Burcham recalls that pace in his first meeting with Nick in pre-season, 2018:
“One of my first interactions with Fozz was when he absolutely gassed me on the outside and scored a try untouched, which was quite annoying!
“The thing with Fozz is he’s a very simple guy. You know what you’re going to get from him every week. Dependable, reliable, tough and above all else just a good bloke. His moods don’t fluctuate too much and he’s always on a pretty even keel.
“It’s fair to say he’s provided the fans with some box office moments to enjoy over the years, either through a ridiculously powerful handoff, an unbelievable offload or just sheer pace to finish off a wonder try.
“Post match he’s always the first at the back of the bus making sure the youngest lad is sorting the whip for the road beers. It’s a shame he’s hanging up his boots, but he’s been gearing up to find a quiet pub with an empty bar stool where he can read the rugby paper and enjoy an IPA in some peace and quiet! Cheers for everything Fozz!”
Nick Foster, Jake Lloyd, Markus Burcham
Adding his own appreciation of Nick, Russell Ticehurst, Managing Director of Blackheath Rugby, says “I would like to add my thanks and best wishes to others as Nick ‘Fozzy’ Foster finally retires from rugby. Since joining Blackheath from OAs he’s been a regular and key 1st XV player. Like many who witnessed his horrific broken leg at Cinderford a few seasons ago (and some of those who heard it!), I thought he might call it a day then, but that’s not the character of the man: he rehabbed, trained, got fit again, and came back with his trade mark pace and fast feet as if nothing had ever happened. Added to that he always travels in flip-flops and shorts to every game, regardless of the venue or weather! He is a Club Man that will be truly missed by me and many others. Good luck for the future, Nick, and thanks for your 62 appearances for the Club.”
Thank you, indeed, Nick – your play on the pitch has been a pleasure to watch, and your presence at the Club will be hugely missed. Blackheath Rugby, it’s members and supporters, wish you the very best in your retirement and we hope to see you coming back through the gates to watch a few games in the future.
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