Nick Scruton has revealed how a meeting with Olympic great Sir Steve Redgrave has given him added inspiration ahead of the new Super League season.
Both men are diabetics and the Bulls prop met Redgrave in London last week to hear how the retired British rowing legend coped with the condition as a professional sportsman.
Redgrave won gold medals at five consecutive Olympic Games from 1984 to 2000 and is universally regarded as one of Britain’s great-ever athletes.
He was diagnosed with diabetes in 1997 aged 35 and won his fifth and final gold at the Sydney Olympics three years later, having learned to adapt to life as a diabetic.
“I had a coffee with Steve in London last week and he was absolutely brilliant with me,” said Scruton, a type one diabetes sufferer.
“He’s one of the nicest people you could meet and it was good to pick his brains.
“Like me, Steve got diabetes later in life and had a quite similar story to myself in terms of how he coped with it.
“It was inspirational to talk to him. I was in awe of him and very nervous about meeting him beforehand but he was a great bloke.”
Bulls coach Francis Cummins helped to organise the meeting and has sent a number of his players and staff on similar fact-finding missions during the off-season.
Cummins himself has met with Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers and Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill, while John Bateman spoke with Leeds and England captain Kevin Sinfield.
James Donaldson and Jobe Murphy have also taken tips from long-serving Rhinos second-rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan.
Scruton, who is gearing up for a big season after two injury-plagued campaigns, added: “Franny has been brilliant teeing things like this up.
“He just wants us to better ourselves, if not as a rugby player then as a person.
“Franny said to me that even if Steve has got nothing to tell you diabetes-wise that can help you, just pick his brains about other stuff and you will pick something up from him. He wants us to invest in our futures.”
As it turned out, Redgrave passed some useful advice onto Scruton about his diet.
The 28-year-old front-rower explained: “Steve said I need to eat more so that I can have more insulin.
“As a diabetic, I can’t produce the insulin in my body to produce energy, I have to inject that into me.
“To do that I have to eat, which is the main thing, but he talked about being strict with my diet.
“I’ve always been pretty strict anyway, but I’ll be even stricter now.
“Steve has won all those gold medals, so it’s made me believe that anything is achievable.
“He told me how incredibly tough his training schedule has been – he told me they have one day off every three weeks.
“It’s unbelievable, so I’m sure that if he can do that then I can deal with what gets thrown at us.”
Scruton has showed signs of his best form in the pre-season friendlies against Dewsbury and Leeds.
He added: “I’ve not enjoyed my rugby as much as this in a long time.
“I’ve got my hunger back and I do feel like a senior player, but I’m enjoying that extra responsibility on my shoulders.”
Meanwhile, the Bulls Legends game scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at the Provident Stadium has been postponed due to the weather.