Saturday 23 June 2018

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Nigeria NGA

Argentina ARG

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Sweden SWE

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Take 20: 'I was crying on the sideline because the frost hurt my feet'

Jake Heenan going through his paces. Photo: SPORTSFILE
Jake Heenan going through his paces. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Jake Heenan

1. Pre-match meal?

I wouldn't have a major preference. Sometimes I go for the pasta but usually just whatever is on the menu.

2. Favourite player growing up?

I was a huge fan of Michael Jones as a kid. At one of my first rugby games I went to he stopped and took the time to sign my book and talk to me. He was part of the reason I fell in love with rugby.

3. Best away day room-mate and why?

It has to be Ultan Dillane. He always comes prepared with good music and entertainment so you can't ask for much else.

4. Who would headline your house party?

There's a band from back home called Six60 who I listen to a good bit. They play a good tempo and are great BBQ or backyard beer music.

5. First song they would play?

'Only To Be' is a cracker.

6. You win the lotto, what is the first thing you would buy?

I'd love to own a boat, especially in a place like Galway. I grew up in a place in New Zealand called Whangarei, which is a harbour town, so owning a boat was something that always appealed to me.

7. Favourite movie?

Easily 'Anchorman'. It's one of the most quotable movies ever made and it's easy to keep re-watching it.

8. Favourite TV show and why?

'Entourage' is priceless entertainment, so I'll go with that.

9. Earliest rugby memory growing up?

I can't believe I'm admitting this, but the first rugby experience I can remember is crying on the sideline because the frost hurt my feet. It could get fairly cold in the winter back home. Unfortunately I haven't toughened up much since!

10. Who is the joker in the dressing room?

Harley Fox would have to be the biggest joker in the dressing room by far!

11. Favourite holiday destination and why?

I love travelling anywhere in my camper van. Places like Biarritz and the Cote Basque are spectacular so I'd easily go back there for a road trip.

12. Favourite away ground to play at?

The Stade Ernest-Wallon in Toulouse has an incredible rugby atmosphere. They're extremely passionate about the sport in that part of the world and you can sense that every time you play there. Winning there in the Heineken Cup was an amazing experience.

13. Three people (dead or alive) who you would invite to dinner?

I'd love to get three different sporting legends together, so I'll go with Muhammad Ali, Georges St Pierre and Dan Parks. Ali and St Pierre are legends of combat sports, and 'Parksy' hasn't text me back in a while

14. Most memorable moment in rugby?

Other than winning the PRO12 in 2016, it would be beating Toulouse away in 2013. I had always admired Thierry Dusautoir, so to match up against him and the rest of the quality in their team was massive. To come away with the win was incredible.

15. Do you have any pre-match superstitions/rituals?

Nope, I'm not really into that kind of thing. Just enjoy getting out there and having fun.

16. Who is the best player you have played alongside and why?

I played with Charles Piatau with the Auckland U-20s and he was spectacular. He was easily a good level or two above anyone else we played and I think he has showed just how good he is.

17. Who is the best player you have played against and why?

Thierry Dusatoir. A genuine openside who was skilled at all areas. Had a real knack at turning up and making a big momentum play right when you didn't want him to.

18. Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?

Since I've moved to Ireland I've visited 26 new countries. You don't get the opportunity to travel to many countries when you live in New Zealand so I've really enjoyed the opportunity to explore as much as I can in my time here.

19. Name three things that are always in your fridge?

I'd be a big dairy fan so I'd always have milk and cheese ready at any moment. After that there would be some Clean Cut Meals in there too.

20. Best advice you ever got?

"Don't take life too seriously". That's the way we should all live and I'd like to think I stick to it.

Irish Independent

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