Monday 14 October 2019

'I learned to play in the sand. I can remember it getting stuck in my eyes'

Take 20: Bill Johnston

Munster's Bill Johnston
Munster's Bill Johnston

1. What's your pre-training routine?

I am working on my left foot a lot. I try and do my left-footed work before training, kicking a ball to someone or kicking to a corner with my left foot.

2. You're in charge of the after-match tunes, what goes on first?

I'm into AC/DC recently, that or something by Drake.

3. Imagine a world where you're not a rugby player - what's your job?

I am studying International Business in UL. I'm sure it would be something along those lines.

4. Stranded on a desert island, what three things do you take?

A crossbow if I knew how to use it, a knife and something to start a fire.

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5. Which team-mate would you want with you and why?

I would probably want somebody who knows what they are doing in the wilderness.

Tommy O'Donnell is good with his hands. He is the handyman around the squad. Him or one of the South African guys.

6. What's your favourite Instagram page you follow and why?

House of Highlights. They do a lot of things with the NBA and NFL. It's cool seeing the world's best athletes doing their thing.

7. What do you do when not training or playing a match?

The weather is good now so I will get the golf clubs out one of these weekends. In the summer I like to do that. In the winter it's playing PlayStation or going for food or coffee.

8. What's your first sporting memory as a player or spectator?

As a player, it would be playing with Clonmel. They have a back pitch and there is a sandpit in it. I learned to play rugby in the sand. I remember it getting stuck in my eyes.

9. You have one moment from your career to do over. What is it?

I dislocated my shoulder trying to regather a quick kick-off and that set me back five or six months. If I could do that again, I would just kick it long and leave it to someone else.

10. What rugby skill would you most like to possess?

Speed or footwork, a bit more of that. That ability to make something out of nothing. It's always special when you see it.

11. Favourite song lyric?

The Two Johnnies are from Tipperary, I listen to them. I usually find a line or two in their songs very funny.

12. What current player in your position do you most admire?

Beauden Barrett. He is just a special athlete. When things are going great he looks untouchable. But even when he is having a bad night in one particular area of his game nothing affects him. He backs himself.

13. What former coach has had the biggest effect on your game and why?

Axel. He is the fella who accelerated my development quickly out of school. I don't know if I would be the same player or have the experience if it wasn't for him seeing something in me.

14. What was your first car?

A Skoda Fabia which I am still driving.

15. What sporting event makes your bucket list?

The NBA finals. I like the NFL as well but the NBA finals, if you could be close to the action, would be incredible.

16. One minute to go in the Champions Cup final, your team is four points down back on your own line. What do you do?

We are coached to have patience. Just patience at all costs and when the right opportunity comes you have to be willing to take it and execute.

17. What was the last concert you went to?

Years ago I went to Kings of Leon in Dublin.

18. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I have a keyboard that has pads on it, basically for producing music electronically. I played a lot when I was younger, and I like messing around with it at home making beats and different songs.

19. What's your best memory playing rugby for Munster?

My first start was against Cheetahs in South Africa which was amazing for a number of reasons.

20. Who'll win the 2019 Guinness PRO14, Champions Cup and Rugby World Cup?

Munster, Munster and Ireland.

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