9:30am Thursday 21st June 2012
By Chris Kirwan
AS a shotgun-toting lover of the outdoors, Newport Gwent Dragons summer signing Ian Nimmo isn’t averse to getting his hands dirty.
And, as befits a man who took his first steps towards becoming a Dragons player in the unspectacular surroundings of Exeter services, the 6ft 7in lock has pledged his willingness to take on the region’s unglamourous work with relish.
The 27-year-old – who used to live on a Scottish shooting estate and enjoys deer stalking, fishing and “anything where I can eat what I get” – was bought out of a contract with Cornish Pirates so that he could pen a two-year deal at Rodney Parade.
He may not command the wages of Luke Charteris but he has been brought over the Severn Bridge to clear out rucks like the Wales star, and the former Scotland Under-21s international isn’t complaining.
“I don’t care if I am just regenerating ball all game long, that’s my job and I will do whatever is asked of me,” said Essex-born Nimmo.
“If asked to describe myself I’d say that I’m not very fancy and not especially quick!
“But I’d like to think of myself as an honest player and I pride myself on working as hard as I can.
“I will try to fit into the team as best as I can and I think that was one of the reasons I got on well with the coaches, it fitting in to what they wanted and I am here to be molded into what they and the squad needs.
“I want the coaches to be looking at how many rucks I am hitting and how many tackles I am making. Hopefully I won’t let anyone down.”
At that first meeting with Dragons boss Darren Edwards and his assistants Rob Appleyard and Alex Lawson over a coffee near the M5, Nimmo stressed that he was happy at the Pirates.
They had been a great club for him and, after a pretty nomadic career that had taken in Leicester, Edinburgh, Coventry, Nottingham, he was settled in Cornwall.
But the chance to pit his wits against some of the best talent in Europe was one that he wasn’t going to let pass. “I explained to Darren that I was really happy at the Pirates but I am also an ambitious rugby player,” he said.
“Cornwall was a beautiful place to live but I was always going to struggle to say no to the Dragons.”
Nimmo linked up with his new teammates this week but the hard work doesn’t quite start yet for the lock.
The Pirates’ season finished on May 31, nearly a month after the Dragons ended, so he has been given another fortnight off.
Then he will be put on a conditioning programme and the Dragons are confident they can add to his already imposing, Championship-hardened physique.
Nimmo said: “I’m especially looking forward to working with Rob Sidoli – I am going to try and forge a friendship with him and pick his brains as much as I can.
“You want to measure yourself against the best players out there and I will be going up against, and playing with, some top internationals.
“It’s exciting and I am really looking forward to the step up and whether I can have the same impact in the games.”
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