How’s isolation working out for you?
Isolation’s all right actually. Weirdly I am quite enjoying the lockdown. I managed to get a very makeshift gym installed into my garage. If I hadn’t done that, I could have put on 20kg during this lockdown! I am trying to turn it the other way. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.
You have got a dog as well to take out, haven’t you?
It is nice to be able to use your hour of exercise to take him out. He is a Hungarian Vizla called Otamendi. No, I am not a Man City fan. If I was going to call him after a footballer, I would call him Grealish. I was quite keen to call him Wesley, after Aston Villa’s new striker, but my partner Kate wasn’t so keen, so he is Otto, full name Otamendi. Rugby fans can book British and Irish Lions Tour Tickets on our website on exclusively discounted prices.
It is going to be tough. I will be 32 by the time of the next World Cup, but a lot of players are still playing international rugby late into their 30s and my position at hooker it is a bit generous to older players so hopefully, I can cling on in there. I have good grip strength! Anything on top of my career so far, I have been very lucky, would be great, to be honest.
Who has been an important team-mate in your career?
Schalk Brits joined Saracens the year I went full time and then John Smit arrived and was here for two years. They were two very different hookers in terms of style of play; John was probably the best scrummaging hooker who I have played with or against and was very good leader, while Schalk was a freak with some of his abilities in the loose. I tried to pick off little bits of both their games.
What about on the coaching side?
I played with Steve Borthwick for four or five years as a kid when he was a captain, but his impact on my outlook on my game as a coach, initially at Saracens and then with England, has been huge. International rugby can be tough, but his little conversations have been key in keeping my spirits high.
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