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Q&A: Rising Dulwich College Rugby star Beno Obano

When Dulwich College won the St Joseph's Rugby Festival last month, it was a great team effort - but one player, in particular, caught the eye. Dulwich prop Beno Obano was featured by the Daily Mail- who described him as a 'fearless ball carrier and tackler' and quoted Dulwich Director of Rugby Sam Howard, who said: "We're just happy he's on our side now!" We decided to have a chat with Beno and find out a little more about this rising star of Rugby.

KUKRI: Beno, thanks for taking the time to talk to us! Can you firstly tell us a little bit about your rugby education - when and where did you start playing the game?
BENO: I started playing when I started secondary school at London Oratory, I was all football back then I had no idea about rugby I remember when I first got tackled and I wouldn't let go of the ball and I was pinged for it and I was completely baffled! I was totally oblivious to the rules at that stage.

KUKRI: Who were your major influences and do you have any particular rugby heroes? Anyone you try to model your own game around?
BENO: Well, I don't really have one but if there was to be one at this moment, point and time it would have to be Sean O'Brien. His ball carrying and intensity in the tackle and his work rate around the field is outstanding and that is what I try to emulate.

KUKRI: What are your main strengths that you pride yourself on as a player?
BENO: I would say my ball carrying and my work rate. But when you play the amount of games I play it's impossible for me to ball carry loads every game, so when I don't get the ball loads during a game it's my work rate which often makes me stand out as a player.

KUKRI: Can you tell us a little bit about life at Dulwich College? It must be a great place to study.
BENO: As you probably know I have been at Dulwich for about 3 months and so far, it's been fantastic. It's been a hell of a lot of fun mixed with a hell of a lot of work and to be honest with you I think it's probably one of the best decisions I've ever made.

KUKRI: And the Rugby team is flying at the moment, things are going really well?
BENO: Yeah, Dulwich has always been known for its rugby - perhaps in recent years it's been hard to live up to that reputation, but the team this year is outstanding and it's lovely to play with players like O'Flaherty, Reason, Austin and Fraser week in and week out and playing with such good players help me improve. Also having Mr. Howard and Mr. Thomas as coaches makes everything so much easier.

KUKRI: Congratulations on playing for England U18 at the end of October. It must have been a great experience, can you tell us a bit about it?
BENO: Yeah it was a great experience and it's lovely that my form has been noticed at such a high level. I'm just going to keep on playing well and see how many caps I can get. It was a lot more chilled than I expected but the coaches obviously know what they're doing hence our result against London Academies. I'll take on board what the coaches are telling me and keep working as hard as I can.

KUKRI: You've been described by the Daily Mail as a 'fearsome ball carrier and tackler' but we bet you're a nice lad really?!
BENO: Hahaha, nice lad - me? Never... Well on the field I like to think I'm a total animal but the off the field I'm a lot calmer and chilled about most things.

KUKRI: What are your aims within the game, Beno?
BENO: I'm not 100% sure about anything and don't particularly want to put all my eggs in one basket but I plan on taking rugby as far as I can and become the best I can be. But ideally I would love to get a contract with London Wasps as soon as possible and represent England as many times as possible.

KUKRI: Finally we have to ask, as Dulwich and Kukri Sports enjoy such a great partnership, what do you think of the kit? Do you have a particular favourite Kukri product?

BENO: I love the kit! Even when I was back at Oratory I've always loved Dulwich's Kukri kit and now being at Dulwich I've got to say the Dulwich 1st XV shirt.

We'd like to thank Beno for taking the time to talk to us and wish him the very best of luck as his career continues to blossom! Good luck also to Dulwich College Rugby 1st XV ahead of a huge Kukri Derby against another much-loved Kukri team, Tonbridge School this weekend!

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Friday 27-06-2014