Saturday 15 December 2018

Take 20: 'I would recommend a stint Down Under for any young player'

Gavin Thornbury. Picture: Sportsfile
Gavin Thornbury. Picture: Sportsfile

Gavin Thornbury

1. Pre-match meal? I can't say I have any one particular meal I normally just have some chicken and pasta but whatever is going. For away games it's usually all laid on, so we don't have to over-think it. Just go with the routine.

2. Favourite player growing up?

Paul O'Connell was always a big inspiration. As a second row myself it always means that you watch players from that position a little bit closer. He always performed for club and country and won almost every honour in the game.

3. Best away day room-mate and why?

Shane Delahunt. I have roomed with him a couple of times this year and he spends most of the time sleeping which suits me fine. The worst room-mate is the guy who talks a lot and snores. I won't mention any names on that one!

4. Who would headline your house party?

Drake. I like my rap.

5. First song they would play?

At the moment it would be God's Plan. That would definitely get the crowd going.

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

I would probably be some sort of holiday. I love travelling and seeing the world. I suppose I would probably bring a few of the lads along as well.

7. Favourite movie?

The Shawshank Redemption. It is one of those movies you can just watch over and over and still enjoy the ending.

8. Favourite TV show and why?

Game of Thrones - I'm completely hooked on it. It is a real favourite around the changing room as well. There's a few other good shows on Netflix at the moment as well.

9. Earliest rugby memory growing up?

I remember running around my grandparents' house in my rugby gear and boots before my first day of training as an under 8. I never looked back from there really.

10. Who is the joker in the dressing room?

That would have to be James Mitchell. He's a funny man. He has a few other challengers around the place as well, but Mitch is definitely the funny man of the dressing room.

11. Favourite holiday destination and why?

I went to Iceland in January and that was pretty incredible. So much to see and do which kept me busy over there. It's a small country with a small population but has so much to offer.

12. Favourite away ground to play at?

The Cheetahs home ground, the Free State Stadium is very impressive and probably the biggest ground I've played at. It is a tough place to go in the heat and altitude and we came mighty close to beating them over there a few weeks ago.

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

Alex Ferguson, Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Elon Musk the business man. That crew would make for some interesting conversation.

14. Most memorable moment in rugby?

I spent some time in New Zealand before joining Connacht. Winning the Heartland Championship there last year in with Whanganui was pretty special. My whole time in New Zealand was a great experience. I would recommend a stint down there for any young player.

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

No, nothing specific, but I try to keep to a routine on match day. There is always a match-day routine laid on by management and coaches which seldom changes so we are very lucky that everything is well organised.

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

I couldn't single out one to be honest. I have been lucky to play with some great players growing up and now at Connacht. Every player brings something different and every player has strengths and weaknesses.

It's very rare that any one player will be the fastest, the best tackler and the most skilful.

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

Again, I don't think I could single one individual out for the same reasons mentioned above.

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

My nickname in school was Darwin from the show the Wild Thornberrys.

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

Ketchup, cheese and milk.

20. Best advice you ever got?

Hard work will always beat talent when talent doesn't work hard.

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