Friday 18 January 2019

'We had a frozen field and a milk tanker rolled over right next to the pitch'

Take 20: Rhys Marshall

Rhys Marshall always has meat, fruit and beer in his fridge
Rhys Marshall always has meat, fruit and beer in his fridge newsdesk

1. Pre-match meal?

It's pretty simple really. Bacon, eggs and porridge, that's the ideal one. Over here the boys love their chicken and stuff. But I just make sure I have a feed a few hours before a game.

2. Favourite player growing up?

Probably Christian Cullen. He was by far the most exciting rugby player I have ever seen in action. Even after his move over here, even though it was injury-riddled, he was still an amazing player. I had one game in the backline as a senior rugby player. I played at 12, I had something like 30 carries and my centre partner came up and told me: 'You do realise you can pass the ball.' The position was all very foreign to me, so I didn't try it again after that.

3. Best away day room-mate and why?

I will go with James Cronin. Basically because if I don't get him I would normally get Dave Kilcoyne or Stephen Archer. He's the best of a bad lot of front-rowers that I get rotated with.

4. Who would headline your house party?

It would have to be the Eagles. They've got some great tunes.

5. First song they would play?

'Hotel California' definitely.

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

I would probably buy a pint.

7. Favourite movie?

'The Ground We Won'.

8. Favourite TV show and why?

'Manhunt: Unabomber' because it was an outstanding documentary. Myself and JJ Hanrahan were talking about it recently, he loved it too.

9. Earliest rugby memory growing up?

My earliest rugby memory was one day when we had a frozen field, and a milk tanker rolled over right next to the pitch, about 50 metres up from the road. All of the kids had to run over and help the driver out. It was just a really cold, slippery morning, in Toko (New Zealand.

10. Who is the joker in the dressing room?

It's got to be Simon Zebo, or even Chris Cloete. Chris Cloete is a bit of an idiot but he is very, very funny.

11. Favourite holiday destination and why?

Rarotonga. It's the New Zealand and Ireland of the 1970s, it's pretty chilled and laid-back.

12. Favourite away ground to play at?

I would probably have to go with the Bulls' home ground in Pretoria in South Africa. They are at altitude. The South Africans are mental. They had barbecues outside and they were pulling the fingers, and swearing and cursing at us, it was an unbelievable stadium to play in because of how passionate the supporters were there.

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

That would be my grandfather - Les Marshall, Jonah Lomu and Colin Meads.

14. Most memorable moment in rugby?

Probably winning the ITM Cup. It was in 2014 with Taranaki. Either that or winning the Super Rugby title in 2013 with the Chiefs.

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

I always tie my laces and tape them up a certain way because my old man says that if it's worst-case scenario and I have to kick the ball, I don't want to be left looking like an idiot with laces mucking me up. It's about the only thing I do that might be called a superstition or ritual.

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

The best player I have played alongside was probably All Black second-row Brodie Retallick. For such a young guy he had such a mature head and he was pretty relentless when it came to anything on the pitch, and there's no wonder he has gone so far.

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

Probably Victor Matfield because he stole half a dozen lineouts off of me when we played against him. And then he shook my hand and gave me a beer after the game. He's a lovely bloke.

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

Everyone already knows I am a shepherd. I am a farm owner in New Zealand and own 100 acres back there. I am passionate about farming and the plan is to go back there when I finish up on the pitch.

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

I always have meat, fruit and beer in my fridge.

20. Best advice you ever got?

The piece of advice my dad gave me about the shoelaces.

Irish Independent

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