“I was kinda forced. My sister was playing and she kind of just signed me up,” said Lake, adding, “I grew to like it.”
And he grew quite good at it.
The prop forward has played for the Avon View Avalanche throughout his school career. He also played for the Windsor Hants County Machine mens' team last summer, and was named the Under 18 captain of the Nova Scotia Keltics.
“He's obviously very big and very strong,” said Avon View's rugby coach Axel Lawrence.
“He has a great awareness of the game. He's got a real good knack for making the right decision at the right time and being able to stay calm and composed in those high pressure situations,” said Lawrence.
Jack Hanratty, the provincial coach for Rugby Nova Scotia, will be heading with Lake to France. Hanratty, who will be Team Canada's Under 18 attack coach, has been watching Lake develop his skills over the past three years.
“I think he was always a powerhouse in terms of playing in Nova Scotia. He was always the biggest and strongest guy, even in Grade 10,” said Hanratty.
Both Hanratty and Lawrence said Lake's size, combined with his passing skills, means he's able to open up the outer field more — a trait that competitive teams are looking for in a prop.
“In the older days, players in his position of prop would have just had one role and that was just go around and do some of the hard work. But nowadays, if you're wanting to be on a national team, you've got to be able to have the skills,” said Hanratty.
Jack Hanratty, the provincial coach for Rugby Nova Scotia, and Nathan Lake, are both headed to France this April —Hanratty as an attack coach and Lake as a prop forward for Team Canada.
Nathan Lake and Ian Duey, of the Hants County Rugby Football Club, were pillars of strength during the Machine’s exceptional season in 2016.