Sam Figg heading to Japan to pursue an Australian Super Rugby contract

Departing Randwick flanker and former Australian Sevens forward Sam Figg is hopeful that a stint in Japanese rugby will help him pick up an illusive Super Rugby contract.

Figg has signed a one-year deal with Top League club Mazda Blue Zoomers and will leave to join his new teammates in Hiroshima next week.

The 24-year old had a stint training with the Western Force earlier this year after impressing for Randwick and the NSW Country Eagles in 2016 and while Figg admitted he’d prefer to stay and play in Australia, he said a season in Japan was his best option at the moment.

“It’s been frustrating not to get a proper crack at Super Rugby, I’m not going to lie about that, but I think with what is happening with the competition in Australia at the moment, it’s going to be pretty tough to pick up a contract in the backrow if there is only four teams,”Figg told Rugby News.

“Hopefully I can head over to Japan, gain some experience on and off the field and come back a better player.”

Figg made six appearances for the Australian Sevens side in 2016 and while he said he learnt plenty from his time in the shorter version of the game, his focus now was solely on XVs.

“I think my Sevens days are behind me. I enjoyed it and I think it made me a better player but I want to be playing XVs,” he said.

“I’ve made it fairly clear that I’m not giving up on playing Super Rugby. I’m heading overseas to continue to work on my game and to let things settle down back here.”

Figg’s mobility is arguably his best quality, but at 194cm and 100kg he is lean compared to other Australian backrowers.

For years, he’s been told by coaches that he needs to be bigger but Figg thinks it’s a fine balancing act.

“I feel I’m ready to play Super Rugby but in saying that a few extra kilos probably wouldn’t hurt me. It’s tough because I’m a fairly mobile player and I don’t want to lose that but I would like to get to that 103-104kg mark.

“I also want to keep working on my line out skills and my calling ability and if I can do that, hopefully I’ll get another shot in Australia.”

Off the field, the 24-year old said he’s not quite sure what to expect in Hiroshima but said he’s looking forward to the experience.

“I’ve spoken to a few of the boys that have played over there and they’ve said it’s the hardest language in the world to learn so that’s going to be interesting. I’ve got a couple lessons lined up so we’ll see how it goes.

“It’s all part of the experience though and that’s the beautiful thing about rugby. You get the chance to go and play and live in another country and experience another culture and I’m really looking forward to that.”

While he won’t feature in the rest of Randwick’s 2017 Shute Shield campaign, Figg said he thought the side was on track to make a run at the title later this year.

“I think Randwick are looking really good. The club as a whole is still building but we’re heading in the right direction. Ever since Nick Ryan and Shannon Fraser got involved, we’ve been building towards something. Obviously last year was really disappointing, but this year’s side learnt a lot from that experience and there is plenty of depth so I think they’ve got a good shot.”