PROP forwards tend to have the greatest longevity of any rugby players, so at 29 Nick Auterac should be a good few years away from retiring. When the time does come to hang up his boots, however, the new Edinburgh loosehead already has a very firm idea of what he wants to do with his life; in fact, he has a route map for not one but two post-rugby careers, as will be explained shortly.
It is a route map that would have been opened up and consulted for real earlier this year, but for a phone call from Mike Blair. After two seasons with Northampton, Auterac’s contract was about to end, and initially he was not at all sure if any other offers would be forthcoming. But then he was interviewed for an article about players in his soon-to-be-unemployed position, Blair read said article, and an offer was soon made.
The Edinburgh coach and the loosehead prop had already worked together in the summer of 2021, when Blair was due to be interim coach of Scotland and Auterac, born in London but eligible via his maternal grandmother, was called up to the squad. The pandemic put paid to the scheduled fixtures, but Blair saw enough of the forward to be impressed. So when he noticed Auterac’s name in that article, he wasted no time in getting in touch.
“Mike is the reason I am here today,” Auterac explains. “Mike must have read the article: he phoned me up and said he didn’t realise I was out of contract and we had a chat and he asked if I wanted to come up and join.
“Edinburgh was the only club I wanted to join. I had a couple of other offers down south, but they didn’t really quite have the purpose that coming here had for me.”
Auterac’s initial aim will be to get regular game time with Edinburgh, starting with Friday’s pre-season friendly at home to London Scottish. After that, there is the ambition of getting back into the Scotland squad, and hopefully being selected for a match or two that actually take place this time.
And after that, or at least once he has eventually hung up his boots, comes that detailed plan we mentioned: a plan that encompassed at least a couple of decades of his life, and foresees not one but two post-rugby careers.
“I want to work in the music industry for 10 years, and build up enough of a status to become a celebrity so I can be a celebrity chef for 10 years,” he says. “Then retire at 50 – and write the occasional cookbook to keep my income coming.”
Given his age, and the fact that so many props keep on playing – and improving – well into their 30s, Auterac should have a good few years’ playing left in him. So it is unlikely that he will be able to stick terribly strictly to that timetable. But music and cooking are definitely serious interests of his, with his musical enthusiasm proven by the fact that he has already set up a studio in the flat he moved into after signing from the Saints earlier in the summer.
“I’m actually using the master bedroom as a studio and I sleep in the spare bedroom,” he continues. “I make house music and all the sub-genres of house – melodic house, Tech house, a bit of disco. Eric Prydz is probably my biggest hero – he is massive in the Tech house world. His live shows are amazing with the lighting and holograms that come out at you.
“I grew up playing instruments. I learnt the piano from about the age of five, then the clarinet and drums, and I taught myself guitar as well. I’m interested in maybe learning the bagpipes – I haven’t told my neighbours yet.
“Music was a big part of my life and it was what I wanted to do if rugby didn’t happen.”
As you would guess about a man who weighs in at nearly 19 stone, food is a big part of his life, too. “I need a lot of good, quality food. I love making pasta – making the dough, rolling the pasta, even simple things like carbonara or making ravioli, things like that.
“There are four necessaries I have to have so I can perform: a good bed to sleep in, good coffee, good food and a good sauna. My favourite coffee is Artisan [Roast] in Broughton Street – genuinely the best coffee I’ve ever had.”
In addition to acquiring such local knowledge of the capital, Auterac has settled in quickly with his new squad – thanks in large part, he says, to the attitude of the coaches. “Mike has been exactly as he was when I did that Scotland stuff last year. He was the reason I moved here and he has been the same as he was then.
“I’ve been impressed by the way he coaches and by all the coaches here. Them wanting to improve as coaches makes us want to improve as players. Strength and conditioning has been really good with Robbo [Mark Robertson] and it has helped me massively.
“I needed a good pre-season to get my body right and strengthen a few areas where there were little niggles. I’ve been really happy and integrating with the city as well. It has been a nice transition.”