Saturday 20 October 2018

'I'd like to think I'm irritating to play against'

Chris Cloete says there’s nothing like a big European game in the red jersey. Photo: Sportsfile
Chris Cloete says there’s nothing like a big European game in the red jersey. Photo: Sportsfile

Take 20: Chris Cloete

1. Pre-match meal?

I usually like to eat a full Irish breakfast in the morning and then I won't eat again before the game. Most of the guys would have turkey burgers and things like that, but I would rather just get my food out of the way early, and then I can relax.

2. Favourite player growing up?

Francois Pienaar. He's an absolute legend back home.

3. Best away day room-mate and why?

Probably Jean Kleyn. He doesn't snore and is easy to get along with. He's a fellow South African too, it all helps.

4. Who would headline your house party?

Alex Wootton.

5. First song they would play?

Probably Backstreet Boys.

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

It depends on how much I won, there's just so many possibilities.

7. Favourite movie?

I don't watch that many movies really, but if I had to choose I would have to say Friday Night Lights.

8. Favourite TV show and why?

It's all about the documentaries for me. I just find them really interesting and it's hard to choose just one.

9. Earliest rugby memory growing up?

I was just eight years old and I was playing for the U-9 side. I ran the whole length of the field but then I ran all the way over the dead ball line and put the ball down there, by mistake. I definitely didn't do that again.

10. Who is the joker in the dressing room?

Definitely Alex Wootton.

11. Favourite holiday destination and why?

The Transkei area in South Africa. It is an untouched coastline and hardly anyone lives there, so it's so peaceful which is great when you are just trying to get away from it all. I would go surfing and deep sea fishing there a lot. I would take my boat out too.

12. Favourite away ground to play at?

Probably the new U Arena where Racing 92 play their rugby. We played against them there in the pool stages of the Champions Cup this season. It was a tough game to lose, but it was an amazing atmosphere and there was a big sense of occasion. It's like a concert venue.

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

The three people I would invite would probably be Winnie Mandela, my grandfather Stanley, and my dad Anton. It's important to have family there.

14. Most memorable moment in rugby?

Making my European debut at Thomond Park against Leicester Tigers earlier this season. It was another amazing atmosphere. It's hard to beat a big European game in that famous red jersey.

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

I don't have any superstitions or rituals when it comes to preparing myself for a match. It's only when I run out onto the pitch that I start concentrating on the game itself. I find it's easier when you just stay relaxed beforehand and keep your mind off the occasion. Then you can play what is in front of you. I enjoy the build-up then.

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

Ross Geldenhuys for what he brings to the team, on and off the field. He was playing Super Rugby with me when I was at my former club, the Southern Kings. He is at the Sharks now though. And I just think he was such a leader, a great man to have on your side when you are going into battle.

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

Probably Michael Hooper. I think he is as irritating as I am on the field. I'd like to think I'm irritating to play against, everyone in my position is.

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

I am very competitive, as you can tell from my game. I like to win.

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

Kale, spinach and blueberries. Nothing too crazy, just healthy.

20. Best advice you have ever got?

Always give it your best. My dad gave me that advice, and you can apply that to anything in life.

Irish Independent

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