American living the dream on logs, dishes

US prop Chris Baumann has played rugby in countries such as Argentina, New Zealand, the Philippines and Japan.
US prop Chris Baumann has played rugby in countries such as Argentina, New Zealand, the Philippines and Japan.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • United States prop Chris Baumann does not get paid for playing rugby - he does it for the sheer love of the game.

The 28-year-old trundled over the line to score his team's second try in their opening 25-16 defeat by Samoa at the Rugby World Cup. And ahead of the Americans' game against Scotland on Sunday, he recalled his journey to the global showpiece tournament.

"I've done a bunch of different jobs, but the one where I didn't need to work out was working at a woodmill in Steamboat Springs (Colorado)," Baumann said.

"You get real big logs where you need machinery to move them, but some of the smaller ones you can move them yourself."

Baumann has travelled the world to pursue his passion for rugby after giving up on his ambition to play American college football as an offensive lineman.

He has played in Scotland, New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines and Argentina as well as a spell with the Randwick club in Sydney.

In New Zealand, he washed dishes in a bar to earn money.

"Wherever I go, if I want to stay there for a bit, I can just contact a rugby club in that area, and they'll help set you up and get you work," he said.

But he always returns home to Steamboat Springs.

"As long as I was healthy, I was trying to play rugby somewhere and I still am. I don't see any end in sight," he said.

Baumann, 28, made his Test debut against Tonga in July. He scored his first international try two minutes into his World Cup debut against Samoa.

"Obviously being American, you're not just playing rugby you also have to make money, so it was just a battle to even get in a position to have a go at the national team," he added. REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 25, 2015, with the headline 'American living the dream on logs, dishes'. Print Edition | Subscribe