Rugby players have a reputation of being big, tough and rough on the field. But Takamasa Hoshiyama, 17, says looks can be deceiving, and the reality of rugby is very different from the stereotype.
"Rugby is the game for everyman," says the Island School student, who also plays on the U19 Hong Kong rugby team. "Whatever your size or speed, anyone can play rugby."
Taka has been playing rugby since he was just four years old, following in the footsteps of his father. "My dad played rugby and he was keen for me to play," says Taka.
A lot has happened for Taka since his first scrum with his father. In the 2014 New Year's Day game against the Overseas Barbarians, he was named Man of the Match, and has taken the role of captain in his club team.
And of course, he's grown throughout his years of playing rugby - in more ways than one. "When I started playing, I was scrum half, usually the smallest guy on the field," Taka says.
"But as I grew, I changed position. Now I am a front row prop - one of the big guys that holds the scrum together."
Of course, the sport has helped Taka grow not only in physical strength, but mental fortitude as well. "Rugby has done a lot for me," he says. "It has really made me focused, and that is thanks to my coaches as well as my teammates who brought me to where I am now."
Taka says that being part of a team and experiencing that growth together is one of the best parts of the sport. "Rugby creates a unity within the team and helps develop a mutual respect between other teams and players," he explains.
"Training is rigorous and matches are physically demanding, but it is a team sport and you have to do your job for the team."
Now Taka wants to help others experience the same growth he has. In his free time, he coaches younger rugby teams. He says it is especially rewarding to find "unusual strengths and capabilities within players and encouraging them to work on those."
"It is good to see some smiles and people enjoying the game," he adds.
What song/movie title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
Tech N9ne – The Beast, it gets me pumped up.
You can have any superpower you choose for 24 hours. What do you choose and how do you use this power?
Immortality; I want to play on the borders of living and dying. I want to see what it feels like or what happens when I fall from the top of IFC or ram into a car driving at full speed. Yeah, I am crazy!
If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
Energy. I want to help more people and be more sociable.