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Bruno continues road to redemption with Southend
EIGHT months ago, Southend Rugby Club’s new signing Bruno Llewellyn-Reid was released from prison fearing for his future.
But, in that short space of time, the 21-year-old’s life has gone full circle thanks to appearing on the hit Sky Sports show ‘School of Hard Knocks.’ Under the guidance of rugby legends Will Greenwood and Scott Quinnell, Llewellyn-Reid was taught a new disciplined lifestyle in front of the cameras which, in turn, led to him also impressing on the pitch.
And, having discovered a new found talent, the back row now wants to continue his road to redemption with Southend.
“In all honesty going on to School of Hard Knocks completely changed my life,” said Llewellyn-Reid.
“If I hadn’t gone on it I think things would have continued in a downhill direction for me and I would probably still be on the streets.
“However now I wake up at 6am to train, I’ve done my level one qualification to be a fitness instructor and will do level two and three as quickly as I can as well.
“Rugby has also gone really well for me and I want to do as well as I can with that too so I’m really pleased to have jumped up in to the National Leagues with Southend.”
Llwellyn-Reid had previously been training with Championship club London Welsh and they will continue to track his progress while at Warners Bridge.
That link up was down to Quinnell who has continued to mentor Llwellyn-Reid since working with him on ‘School of Hard Knocks’.
Quinnell won 52 caps for Wales during his own career and also played three times for the British Lions.
And the Tottenham based Llewellyn-Reid is therefore delighted to have remained in touch with the former Wales captain.
“I still talk to Scott every couple of weeks and he’s been brilliant for me,” said Llewellyn-Reid.
“To have someone like him to talk to is really good and he’s been a huge help for me.”
But life has not always been so good for Llewellyn-Reid.
He spent 18 months in Isis Prison, based in Thamesmead, for his part in an armed robbery and is still haunted by his time behind bars.
“Being in prison was awful, just like it should be,” said Llewellyn-Reid.
“I know that I made a big mistake and I don’t ever want to go back there.
“That’s another reason why I’m keen to keep on doing well and to make sure my future is better than my past.”
Sport looks set to play a big part in that after Llewellyn-Reid’s rapid improvement on the rugby pitch.
The youngster, who stands at 6’6’’ tall and weighs in at 19 stone, only played the sport for the first time two years ago.
He previously experimented with athletics, American Football and bodybuilding but now feels his future is in rugby.
“I didn’t really enjoy the other sports but I picked up rugby straight away,” said Llewellyn-Reid.
“I know I have a lot to learn but I’m well suited to it and I enjoy it as well.”
That was apparent during ‘School of Hard Knocks’ where Llewellyn-Reid helped the team become the first in the show’s five year history to win their final game of the series.
“It meant everything for us to get that victory,” said Llewellyn-Reid who scored a try in the team’s triumph over Haringey.
“I’ve not grown tired of watching my try yet either but hopefully there are more wins and tries to come from me as I continue to improve both on and off the pitch because I’ve come a long way in a short space of time and want to keep that going.”