Rookie Caprice continues his rugby league journey
Daniel Caprice may have had his NRL Rookie dream cut short in just the third episode of the series, but the former England Sevens star is still on his rugby league journey in Australia.
Caprice came through the Saracens rugby union academy in the UK before representing England in the Sevens World Series. He dislocated his ankle in 2013 and stopped playing union, but ventured Down Under in 2014 looking for a new start.
"When I came to Australia, State of Origin was on so I kind of got hooked and started watching rugby league," Caprice told NRL.com.
"I'd always been pretty keen to learn league and I thought The NRL Rookie would be a great opportunity to have some really good coaching and to learn about the game."
The 26-year-old, who also played union for Northland in New Zealand's ITM Cup, listed some big differences in learning the new code.
"I think mostly the speed of rugby league is a lot faster. The ball is in play a lot more so it is quicker, and the intensity is higher as well," Caprice said.
"I had a bit of trouble learning the basic rules. I think in the first game I got penalised about five times for not being square at marker. Just simple rules, like getting back on-side, I was struggling with because we don't do that in union.
"In union we tackle really low to try and get the player to the ground as fast as we can, whereas in league you try to hold them up to slow the tackle down."
Caprice was not initially in The NRL Rookie's bottom three at the end of Episode 3, with Elias Power, Karo Kauna Junior and Matt Gorman all nominated by their teammates to be up for the cut. But the captain for the week, Lou Goodwin, made the call to save Karo and put Caprice into the bottom three. He was then cut by head coach Brad Fittler.
"As soon as Lou said he was going to change someone in the bottom three I knew it was going to be me," Caprice said.
"I didn't agree with it, but I respected him for going ahead with it because it would have been easier to just brush it off and not pick anyone. Obviously I'd rather it was not me, but that's okay.
"I had an injury and I didn't know how long I'd be out for. I was kind of shocked, I thought Freddy would have cut someone who was originally in the bottom three.
"I'd only had one rugby league game under my belt, so another couple of weeks would have been great."
But the rugby league adventure didn't stop there for Caprice as he is now playing for the Berkeley Eagles in the Illawarra Coal Rugby League competition.
"I'm playing fullback which I really enjoy because there's a lot of freedom," he said.
"It's good fun and it's nice to learn the game a bit more. I'm at the stage where I'm a bit more comfortable with it and I understand what I'm doing."
The Englishman is now also a keen follower of the NRL, but hasn't entirely pledged allegiance to one specific club just yet.
"I've been struggling to pick an NRL team – there are a few I like," Caprice said.
"If I had to pick one, I'd have to say I'm a Raiders fan. They play a nice, flowing, attacking game. I'm also a fan of a few of their players, like Jordan Rapana."
While disappointed in leaving the show so early, Caprice said his NRL Rookie experience was a valuable one.
"I learnt a lot about the game, just learning off the boys. People like Chris Hyde were really good at pulling me aside and helping me out with things."
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AUSTRALIAN BROADCAST DETAILS:
Each episode will air five times during the week on free to air television across the Nine Network:
• PREMIERE – Tuesday – GO! 7.30PM (SYD/MEL/BRIS)
• ENCORE 1 - Wednesday - CH9 10.30PM (SYD/BRIS)
• ENCORE 2 - Saturday - CH9 1PM (BRIS)
• ENCORE 3 - Sunday - CH9 2.30PM (SYD)
• ENCORE 4 - Monday - GO! 11.30PM (SYD/MEL/BRIS/ADE/PER)
Please note: these time may vary from week to week so be sure to check your local guides.