The Saracens and England hooker chats about opening his very own physiotherapy clinic, the excitement of being an entrepreneur, the influence of Eddie Jones and why being a British & Irish Lion meant the world to him.
You are the joint founder of The Carter & George Practice, can you explain what the business does?
We are a physiotherapy clinic, which has now evolved into a multi-medical facility. Our main clinic is based in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, and we have also opened a second clinic at the Grove Hotel in Watford. We are the one-stop-shop for all medical needs. Our aim is to have a strong group of physiotherapists, doctors, osteopaths and chiropractors all under the one roof. Whatever your medical needs are, in terms of health and wellbeing, we want to provide an excellent service to accommodate all.
Can you touch on why you wanted to launch the business?
It all sparked from a conversation I had with my business partner and life-long family friend, Rhys Carter. Rhys and I went to school together and have always enjoyed a great friendship. At the time, Rhys was working as a physio in Dubai, and had links to elite sport across the country. I was always very keen to gain an interest outside of rugby and through chatting with Rhys we came up with the idea to launch our very own clinic in the UK. Our vision was to create a practice where you could receive the same level of treatment as you would if you were a professional athlete. We therefore established The Carter & George Practice to make elite medical treatment accessible for all.
What is your role?
My role is to oversee the strategy aspect of the business, with an emphasis on evolving the practice and making sure we continue to provide the best quality of care. Obviously with rugby taking up a large chunk of my life, I am not there daily, however I do try and visit the business once a week. I also act as the link between the practice and professional sport. Rhys and I speak weekly about certain aspects that I have picked up from Saracens and England training which we could learn from and implement in our own business.
What are the goals for the practice?
The main goal is to provide our customers with the best level of care we possibly can. We strive to employ the best medical professionals all under the one roof. The long-term goal is to launch three or four clinics around London and the surrounding areas in the next few years.
What has been some of your biggest learnings from the experience?
Personally, it’s been terrific to compliment my rugby with having an exciting interest off the pitch. One thing that became obvious early in the process, was the positive impact on my rugby by having something to look forward to away from training and match-day. The whole process of creating a brand and business has been a huge learning curve and something I am still growing from each day. We have been challenged along the way, and we have made a lot of mistakes throughout the process. But would I change anything about the experience? Absolutely not.
You have been at Saracens since you were 14, who has had the biggest influence on your career?
Alex Sanderson has been enormous. I have worked with him for the last ten years and he has been exceptional. He was my U18s coach and I have always loved what he stands for as a person and how competitive he is. The way he gets his message across in such an entertaining way, probably makes him the best sales person in the Premiership. He is also an incredible man and has a deep care for you as a person first and a player second.
With 28 England caps to your name, what has been the best piece of advice you have received from Eddie Jones?
With Eddie, he always makes it clear how important your time away from the rugby pitch is. Making sure you are right to play at the weekend is paramount. He has such an emphasis on recovery, diet and strength, meaning I have learnt so much about my preparation from him. He has definitely made me a better athlete.
You pulled on the British & Irish Lions shirt in 2017, can you describe the experience?
Pulling on the red shirt meant everything to me. To be named in the touring squad was very special. I was watching the Sky Sports announcement with my teammates at the club and being able to celebrate the biggest achievement of my career with the guys closest to me, was amazing. Then to be able to share the news with my girlfriend and family was even better.