Hopkins’ divine intervention

IT’S little wonder that Ipswich Rugby Club’s prayers for staving off relegation were answered – they’ve got ‘Jesus’ on their side. No, not the son of God – winger Tim Hopkins.

IT’S little wonder that Ipswich Rugby Club’s prayers for staving off relegation were answered – they’ve got ‘Jesus’ on their side.

No, not the son of God – winger Tim Hopkins.

The 26-year-old’s flowing blonde locks earned him the nickname upon his introduction to the first XV at Humber Doucy Lane and his divine intervention this season has steered Aaron Brown’s men away from the relegation zone.

A knee injury kept Hopkins out for most of the first half of the season but upon his return they shot up the table beating the likes of high-flying Sudbury on their way to ensure they will be playing in London Two North East next season.

“We had a bit of an upsurge when I came back,” admitted Hopkins, whose hairstyle certainly marks him out from any of the other players on the rugby field most weekends. “We’ve managed to get ourselves safe now and we are just hoping we can pick up a few more wins before the end of the season.”

While some would argue his choice of haircut, or lack thereof, could hamper him on the rugby field, he believes it actually works in his favour.

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“I’ve got a few nicknames, not all of them printable,” added Hopkins, who is also known as ‘Timotei’ by his team-mates. “I suppose I bring it on myself really with how I choose to have my hair.

“But I think it works to my advantage as I don’t really look like your traditional rugby player. I think the opposition can sometimes underestimate me and I can then show them that I can play a bit.”

Hopkins has certainly made an impression since he came back from a knee injury and you perhaps wouldn’t expect Ipswich’s season to be affected by events in Peru.

But it was while trekking along the Inca Trail that Hopkins sustained the injury that kept him out for much of this season as fluid started building up on his knee.

Despite having it drained on several occasions upon his return, rest was the only cure leaving Aaron Brown’s men without their number one attacking asset out on the wing.

“I’ve been through the wars recently I’ve got to admit,” added Hopkins, who sustained a thigh strain during the club’s 33-3 defeat to Saffron Walden on Saturday.

“I had a fluid build up on my right knee whilst I was doing the Inca Trail and even after having it drained it was causing me quite a lot of discomfort for about five months.

“I started playing again in November and we started moving up the league.”

Hopkins has risen up through the ranks at Ipswich like fellow first XV members Alex Primer and Ben Goodall - something which happens all too rarely these days.

He believes that having some homegrown talent at the core of the side will stand the club in good stead and hopes that more players can come through.

“I played at junior level for Ipswich like a couple of the other lads and I suppose we are kind of the core of the side as we are from the local area.

“We’ve got some very good overseas players and there is a nice mix. If a few more can come through then that would be great.”

Hopkins is also a keen rugby league player, often turning out for Ipswich Rhinos during the summer, but he has decided to give his body a rest and prepare for the new season with Brown’s men.

“I think I’m going to give my body a rest this summer. When I told Aaron I think he was quite glad as it means I should be fit and ready for the start of next season.”

There is still business to be taken care of this campaign however with a mouth-watering clash against promotion chasing Colchester this weekend, a match Hopkins is thoroughly looking forward to.

“It’s going to be a really big game and it should be really interesting as they are pushing for third.

“They are a very good team but we have showed this season that we can compete with teams at the top of the league – it will be very interesting.”

With ‘Jesus’ on their side, you wouldn’t bet against Ipswich pulling off a surprise.

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