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England's new Aussie: 'I've not met many like obsessed Dolly'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Nic Dolly is an Australian youngster in a hurry, the recent acceleration in his fledgling rugby career resulting in the hooker’s inclusion in this week’s 34-strong England squad which assembled in Jersey to prepare for next month’s matches versus Tonga, Australia and South Africa at Twickenham.

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It was just last March when Steve Borthwick snapped Dolly up from second-tier Coventry and the Leicester recruit has rapidly gone from strength to strength, scoring five tries in six appearances this season to help the Tigers lead the way at the top of the Gallagher Premiership. 

The 22-year-old Aussie-born front-rower initially honed his skills at youths level in New South Wales before joining Sale in 2017 and quickly getting included in the England U18s. He then went on to play age-grade U20s but his club action was transient, to say the least, Dolly making loan appearances for Sale FC, Rotherham Titans and Jersey Reds before getting released by the Sharks and then arriving into the Coventry squad for the start of the delayed Championship season last March. 

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Three appearances later – and coupled with the exit of Jake Kerr from Tigers – it resulted in Borthwick making an offer and seven months further down the track, Dolly is now rubbing shoulders with the finest England players in the Channel Islands.   

Ellis Genge has labelled his new club and Test squad colleague as weird but added that this isn’t rare in a high-end sport where he reckons you have to be a bit crazy if you want to be the best. 

“I have not met many like Dolly – he is obsessed with recovery,” explained Genge. “He is actually recovering as we speak. I just finished eating with him and I said what are you doing and he was doing recovery again. He is really lapping it up here because the recovery facilities are so good. 

“As a person, you would have to sit down and have a brew with him. He is just a weird fella. I think rugby players are just weird in general, to be honest, and you have got to sit down and chat to them to encapsulate what I mean. But he is a good kid, works hard and he will go really well.”

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This weirdness is not rare. “In high-end sport, you have got to be a bit tapped to want to be the best in general,” continued Genge. “Everyone has seen the documentaries of Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman and people like that, they are not normal people. 

“I’m not comparing us to the likes of those but they are not normal people by any stretch of the imagination. You have got to be a little bit tapped to want to be the best anyway because what you put your body through and sacrifice to be the best are not for normal people and I guess that is why it is elite.”

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