1.You currently play for Gloucester Rugby – how long have you been with you current team and what has been the biggest difference since joining them?
I am coming into the end of my second season with Gloucester Rugby and will be here for another 2 years, the biggest difference here than in previous teams is that every week is a tough, hard, competitive game with last place being able to beat first place. The relegation system in The Aviva Premiership makes every game very important.
2. Rugby is a tough, highly physical game – you recently suffered injury and had the use of BLACKROLL and HYPERICE products – can you tell me about your injuries and how you are using the products for rehabilitation? How have you found them to help you?
I had a shoulder operation in January this year and I got the Hyperice Shoulder Sleeve for recovery, as soon as I used it the first time I felt the difference in how it made my shoulder feel. I have been using it everyday to help my shoulder recover and I am nearly a month ahead of schedule and I believe the sleeve helped with that. The BLACKROLL products were really helpful to allow my body to withstand the massive amount of training I had while I was injured.
3. How many hours a week do you focus on recovery and rehabilitation?
I focus about and 1-2 hours a day on recovery and rehabilitation at the moment while I am recovering from injury, but when I am fit and playing rugby I would make close to an hour of my time per day purely focused on recovery and rehabilitation.
4. As well as physical recovery – what’s your post match nutrition strategy?
We have a great setup at Gloucester Rugby with our top performance chef Will Carvalho and nutritionist James Hudson calling the shots and during the week they make sure we are well fed and have the right stuff at the right time. Post match we get our recovery drinks and food in the changing room then get a big meal that chef Will has provided for us, and a cheeky dessert is always welcome after a tough game too.
5. What 3 key tips would you offer to young props coming through the junior rugby system?
1. Work on your body strength and flexibility.
2. Get as much game time as possible to work on technique.
3. Don’t stop working hard to get better.
6. What is your one rep max squat PB?
When I was younger and obsessed with big max reps I did 230 for one but now when I’m getting a bit older I’m working on real depth and stability in my squats so the max weight goes down.
7. In the scrum, do you think refs can really know what is going on?
Without getting myself into to much trouble with the refs I would say that I have a lot of sympathy and understand how hard it is for them to make the right decisions all the time, I do think it keeps getting a lot better and there are some top refs out there.
8. Who has been your toughest opponent in the scrum?
When I was 21 I played in the quarter final of the then Heineken Cup competition and played against Brian Mujaiti in his prime and let’s just say I am glad when the ref finished the game.
9. Have you ever been sent off? What happened?
I have only been yellow carded once for ‘allegedly’ playing the ball on the ground after I tackled a player but the ref got that completely wrong ha ha!
10. Who in your opinion, is the best prop in the world right now?
You can’t really argue that when Mako Vunipola is fit and playing to his best no other prop comes close!