Preston Grasshoppers star Ryan Carlson has had to make a lot of adjustments since coming over to the Preston from South Africa – but the thing he misses most is his mum’s cooking.
Carlson, a back-row forward from Pokowane in South Africa, signed for the club at the start of last year and has featured prominently in Paul Arnold’s team since his arrival.
He’s loving his experience in the north of England but there’s one thing he’s still craving.
“Nothing beats my mum’s home cooking,” Carlson said with a grin.
Aside from plying his trade as a rugby union player, the South Africa native has quickly made Preston his home away from home.
He is the owner and founder of Hoppers Health and Fitness gym, and he also works as a trainer when not donning the Grasshoppers white jersey.
Despite coming to the UK as an unknown, Carlson was an already accomplished player in South Africa.
He played for College Rovers in Durban and scored the winning try against the Durban Collegians in the Murray Cup knockout final.
He also featured for one of South Africa’s Super Rugby pro-teams – The Sharks under-21’s – before moving to Preston.
The former College Rovers star in Durban has enjoyed a strong first season playing in Preston playing 14 games and scoring three tries.
He helped the team achieve a seventh place finish in their first year back in the National League Two Division North.
Carlson’s success on the field has seen him earn the name “the Lion” by the club’s faithful, and he is enjoying his experience in the UK.
The back-row said: “It has been good, very good. It is a completely different world to what I am used to in South Africa.
“The weather is the worst part but otherwise I am quite enjoying it.
“All the facilities and services here are really great and all the people are great. I’m loving it.
“I got asked to come over and come play, so I was very fortunate in that regard and I’m loving it.”
The club is struggling at the moment, however.
They have suffered with injuries this season and are languishing in 15th in National League Two Division North.
But Carlson believes the club can escape their predicament. and climb the table.
“It is still early doors in the season,” said Carlson.
“It might not be going so good so far but there is no reason we can’t turn it around. Positive thinking, work rate, execution are all things we can improve”
Carlson has dealt with a nose injury and a concussion over the past six weeks, but he is determined to – as his Lion nickname suggests – keep on roaring.