Settling in up North with KPP
After 18 months since joining Wigan from London Broncos, Kai Pearce-Paul has learnt to deal with one of the main parts of life up north; getting stick off his teammates for his southern slang.
“All the time, the slang I use and certain words I say, I’ll be getting mocked half the day for it and probably hear about it 100 times – and I’ll give it back to them for their Wigan phrases too!”
The 20-year-old made the move up north after earning a professional deal with Warriors thanks to his impressive performances in the capital.
Now in the second season of a four-year deal, Pearce-Paul has fully settled into his new surroundings.
“At first it was tricky, in terms of family and stuff, and I hadn’t really been away from home prior to moving up here.
“When you’re around a team, it’s almost like your family here, and when you get into the routine, it’s my life now.
“I wake up, breakfast, rugby, end of the day and sleep and same again. It was just getting used to the routine at first, and getting to know the boys, but now it’s just normal to me. This is more my life now than back in London, because this is what I’m dedicated to.”
Not only is the second row putting the graft in on the training pitch, but he is also working towards a Sport and Exercise Science degree at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
Studying part-time over four years allows the youngster to develop both his rugby and his studies simultaneously, which he explains is a simpler task than it may seem.
“It’s not too bad really, especially in the last year because it’s all been online classes and I can catch up after training.
“Everyone here is really flexible and I can do my training around Uni. There will be some days where I’m going in and missing training, but I’ll come straight from Uni and get the session done.
“It sounds harder than it is being a full-time player. They’re really flexible and give a good balance.”
Pearce-Paul made his second Wigan appearance in the 17-16 win over Salford last month, following on from his debut in the Cherry and White last season against St Helens.
Having set a goal of breaking into the first team at the start of the year, the Bromley-born forward feels maintaining a high level is key to reaching his target.
“I guess it’s about consistency really and just taking my chances. When I’m offered a chance, it’s just doing what I know how to do and doing what I’m known to do, and at the same time being consistent with it.
“That gets you wins, being consistent and being the best in what you can do and better than the opposite man is what helps you get through to be honest.
“I think in order to maintain your spot, you’ve just got to prove to the main man Lammy (Adrian Lam) that you should be there. That’s the way I look at it.”