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From Twickenham Stadium to Hampton School: History teacher Dr Dixon talks rugby to HSC

By James Eggleton |

From the Hampton History department to the corridors of Cambridge and playing at Twickenham, Dr Dixon’s past is an amazing story. The Cambridge rugby player found his love for rugby at the age of 12 years old, his main attribute being his strength. However, his passion for rugby never got in the way of his learning and education – Dr Dixon completed his PhD at Cambridge last year.

The highlight of Dr Dixon’s rugby career is, surprisingly, playing for the Old Hamptonians, given his successes in the sport. Despite this, Dr Dixon told us that the most defining point in his career was beating Oxford for the first time in 10 years. “Playing at Twickenham was a massive thing, I was very nervous, even as an Irishman.” His time with Cambridge University produced the pinnacle of his rugby as well as his academic studies. “The biggest game of my career was definitely the 2017 Varsity match at Twickenham.”

It was clear that Dr Dixon was a very talented rugby player as in his youth and set his goal at the highest level. “I was part of Ulster Academy when I was young and always dreamt of professionalism as any young player does. Unfortunately, I was never quite good enough.” Rugby was a big thing in Dr Dixon’s life; his love for the game came from his father.

As well as Dixon’s aforementioned rugby talent, he excelled at school. Recently achieving a PHD in Early Modern History, I asked Dr Dixon about the balance of school and rugby. “I always prioritised school over rugby and I actually was a massive nerd as a kid.” Despite this he had absolutely no ambition to go to Cambridge University but when he went there to study history, the opportunity to play at Twickenham for the Blues was a dream come true.

More recently Dr Dixon has returned to the school that his love for rugby was nurtured at and has joined the Hampton school history department this school year. Outside of the classroom, Dr Dixon has taken on the challenge of coaching the U12s Rugby. “Compared with teaching and and playing rugby coaching is the most difficult. [It is] a good challenge though! I wanted to coach because I wanted give back what the game gave to me.” It is clear that Dixon wants everyone to get the enjoyment from rugby that he got from the game.

All in all, Dr Dixon’s inspiring story all started with a passion for a game he really enjoyed. Modest, funny and bright were the qualities that brought him to one of the highest levels in both academics and sport. Even now, in the fields and halls of Hampton he shows those qualities. His modesty is demonstrated through attitude towards his matches, “I am nervous for every game, I never want to let anyone down. The aura of kindness and helpfulness is shown in the classroom and out on the fields coaching.” His next step….an unbeaten season in coaching!

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