American Baumann living the dream on logs and dishes

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 22, 2015 6:05 PM

By Ed Osmond

LONDON (Reuters) - 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 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 told reporters on Tuesday.

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

Baumann has traveled 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.

"I decided I needed to play in a better club competition, so I went down to Australia and played for Randwick and that really helped," he said.

Baumann washed dishes in a bar in New Zealand 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.

“America is just too good,” he said. "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.”

Baumann made his test debut against Tonga in July.

"I had my first opportunity with the Eagles when I was 22 and it didn’t go well," he said.

"I’m 28 now. I had a long evolution to go in my scrumming.

"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," Baumann added.

"This time last year I saw that I needed to go out to New York Athletic Club and that’s where things started happening."

Baumann scored his first international try two minutes into his World Cup debut against Samoa.

"I didn’t really have time to enjoy it as I was trying to hurry everything up because I knew we needed to score some more points," he said.

(Editing by Ken Ferris)