One day Australia U20s fullback Clay Uyen wants to be working with structures far more complex than you’d find in rugby.
The 19-year-old is working towards a mechanical engineering degree at UWA, or as he described it with a laugh, ‘three-and-a-half years of hell’.
Uyen and Force hooker Harry Scoble are both working towards their engineering degrees, and sharing in the challenges of balancing rugby and study.
“I do pick his brain, (ask), ‘How do you handle it?’ I see him battling through it and it’s definitely a positive sign, it’s doable.”
He’s not keen on the FIFO life, having grown up with a mining engineer father, who is currently based out of a gold mine in China, but it’s that background and a preoccupation with maths that sparked his interest.
“My old man, he’s a mining engineer so I guess the fascinations I’ve always had with maths and physics and the satisfaction from being able to travel and work at the same time, pushed me into engineering.
“Everyone always going to need an engineer, solving problems and helping people.”
Uyen said the field translates often to rugby, when it comes to solving problems.
“Probably the problem solving and trying to think outside the box of how to get through issues you might be coming up to on the field when you’re there in the moment,” he said.
“It gives you new ways of thinking and new ways to develop that answer.”
A plan B has become more important for Uyen as uncertainty surrounds Super Rugby’s structure, with the next generation far from untouched by the questions that are still lingering.
“It certainly changed the environment back home with rugby fans and rugby players, it’s been so long without an answer, people just want to know, everyone’s sick of the waiting,” he said.
“It’s disappointing because as much as I’d like to stay in the west, I’ll still keep playing and I’ll be wherever I can get an opportunity.”
Uyen said the Australia U20s were looking to rebound against a high-flying New Zealand U20s, after a performance against Fiji that coach Simon Cron rated a ‘one out of 100’.
“New Zealand don’t know what we’re capable of, so that’s a great tool to have in the box,” he said.
“This is a group of guys who, when we hear that feedback, we all take ourselves to get better, we don’t let our heads get down and bogged down in doom and gloom.”
Australia takes on New Zealand on Saturday night in the final match of the Oceania U20s Championships, kicking off at 7pm AEST, LIVE on RUGBY.com.au.