NEW Plymouth Albion back Ethan Ford is hoping he can live up to his Australian team-mate Marc Koteczky’s positive billing.
Koteczky, who played alongside Ford at Sydney-based club Randwick, has tipped his countryman to be a success at Brickfields.
Ford arrived in England on Monday and met his new Albion team-mates for the first time on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old is aware that Koteczky has been singing his praises and now he is just hoping he can live up to his friend’s expectations.
“I hope I can,” he said. “But we’ll have to wait and see.”
Despite having a British grandparent, Ford has never been to the UK before.
But that did not stop him deciding to move to the other side of the world with his wife Reanah to join Albion.
“I have never been this far before so it is good to get over here and enjoy the experience,” said Ford, a qualified electrician.
“I have been wanting to come over for the last three or four years, but it just has not been the right time.
“But I’d got into a bit of a stalemate with my rugby in Australia, so I started to look elsewhere and this is where I ended up.”
He added: “I arrived Monday afternoon. I feel pretty good and we’ve got a nice place.
“I obviously know Marc from back home, so that will help me settle in.
“My wife has also come over with me. She has always wanted to travel and come to European. Hopefully she is going to enjoy it.”
Ford, who met his wife when they started high school, said there were a number of reasons why he opted for Plymouth.
“I think Plymouth being a coastal town helped and played a big part in it,” he said. “I grew up in a coastal town in Australia and Sydney is as well, which is where I have been living for the last five or six years.
“And obviously knowing Marc as well helped. He has been a good mate for a while and I figured having him here would help me settle in and make it feel more like home.”
Ford, who is not only following in the footsteps of Koteczky in playing for Albion and Randwick but also 2004-05 top scorer James Pritchard, is from a small New South Wales town called Kiama, which is in rugby league heartland.
Albion’s new signing played both codes of rugby between the ages of 14 and 18 but eventually opted for union as he was having more success in it.
He said: “I played rugby league all the way up until I was 18.
“But I was getting picked for a lot of rep stuff (in union). Rugby league is that strong back at home that there is a lot more competition to make teams.
“I made more inroads with rugby (union) and ended up doing all right.”
‘Doing all right’ included representing New South Wales at various age groups and representing Australia Schoolboys. He was also included in the Australian Under-20 training squad.
“I was in the under-20 training squad a few years ago now,” he said. “I did that I think in 2010 and at the end of that season I went down and did a pre-season at the Rebels rugby team, which was good experience. I learnt a lot from that.”
Ford can play anywhere in the backs from 10 to 15, but said: “My favourite and preferred position is full-back and then probably wing.
“I didn’t start playing in the outside backs until I got into first grade at Randwick, but ever since then I have loved it.
“I have played full-back for a few years and had a year on the wing. I am pretty comfortable most places, so it does not really bother me where I play.”
Ford, who confesses to liking drawing and having a love of Disney cartoon films, is looking forward to seeing the sights of Plymouth and trying surfing in the West Country.
“I pretty much surfed every day growing up back home,” he said. “That is one of my big hobbies. I love that. That was another thing about moving here, as soon as Marc said surfing I was like that sounds good to me. I bet it will be pretty cold, but I’m sure it will be all right.”
However, his main priority is rugby and despite his jetlag he has been straight into training with his new team-mates as they build for the start of the National One season.