Laws of the game

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 12:00am
 

Many of the crowd this weekend have had their eyes fixed on new Hong Kong captain Rowan Varty, but from the upper decks of the East Stand, one man is watching him with a certain amount of avuncular pride.


'He's teaching us about rugby, and we're teaching him about law,' said Varty's boss, Ian De Witt.


Varty, who comes from generations of lawyers in the Macanese Remedios family, deferred his start as a trainee lawyer with Tanner De Witt for two years while he played professional rugby in Japan.


'To be honest, it was no hardship for us to defer the start date,' De Witt said. 'As his coach, Dai Rees, said to me, 'a rugby player's career is not a long one, and we encourage the players to have long-term career goals'.'


Keeping Varty's post open was not just a case of two Hong Kong Welshmen hatching a plan. When De Witt said, 'We're pretty cognisant of rugby, it's part of our mindset', it is a case of Welsh understatement.


'Not everyone has the opportunity to do exactly what they want to do in life,' he said. 'Life's too short to spend your days doing what you don't want to do. Not everyone has the chance to play rugby at an international level.


'Law could wait, rugby couldn't. With a bit of restructuring, we kept Rowan's position open.'


The firm sponsors the Pot Bellied Pigs and the Fat Boy Tens. When partner Kim Boreham started working for them, she went off to play rugby in Kazakhstan the following week.


Tanner De Witt has rugby inspired furniture in the foyer and, during Sevens time, songs of the tournament are played to clients while they wait on hold on the phone.


In his training programme, Varty has been working his way through the firm's departments - corporate, employment, commercial litigation and insolvency. It was only this month that Varty, 26, began work directly under De Witt. 'I haven't had to yell at him yet,' De Witt said.

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