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Interview with Rhys Williams

13th July 2005

The following questions and answers are an abstract from an interview conducted by Bethany Keenan and Stacey Williams of Fairwater High School with Blues star Rhys Williams.

Why are you known as Rhys when your first name is Gethin?
You’d have to ask my mum! I was christened Gethin Rhys because my mum thought it followed better. I’ve always been known as Rhys.

Describe yourself in three words.
Smiley, easy-going, committed.

What’s the last book you read?
I really enjoy reading and last night I finished reading Deception Point by Dan Brown. It’s a thriller about the American Space Program.

What’s the last thing you bought?
Meals in restaurants while on holiday in Spain last week – I really enjoy going to good restaurants, and I love fish, mussels and prawns. I also bought clothes to go on holiday a few weeks ago, a new sports car.

Who’s had the most influence on you and do you have a sporting hero?
Definitely my parents. They gave me a lot of support and used to run me to different venues for training and games. I don’t really have one particular sporting hero but I looked up to rugby greats like Jonathan Davies, Rob Howley, Mike Rayer and Neil Jenkins among others.

How did you feel when you meet these players?
It was weird meeting them face to face, shaking their hands and knowing them on first name basis.

I understand you were a very talented cricketer. Why did you choose rugby?
All my family had an interest in rugby. My dad was a very good player and I found the game more exciting. I got asked to play for the under 16’s welsh cricked team but it just didn’t appeal to me as much as rugby did.

What else do you like doing besides from rugby?
I really like playing golf but it can be frustrating because one day you can be really good at it and the next day you can be terrible!!!

What do you do to keep fit?

The WRU gives us a year planner which we have to follow. We have pre-season training which is intense, such as long distance running to build stamina. Nearer to the start of the season we concentrate more on power training. You wouldn’t be able to train yourself intensely all year round because you’d flake off. Eating the correct foods is also very important.

So you eat healthily then?
Yes I do. When I started training here a dietician educated us on food and nutrition, including things like good fats from nuts and certain oils and avoiding fried foods. When I go to restaurants I don’t go for creamy sauces but have tomato based ones, for a healthier option. I rarely have deserts

What were your school days like then?
I loved them! At the time, you think things like GCSE’s and A levels are a pain, but when you look back and realise what good times you had in school. I had really good friends too. I also did a year in University but rugby took over. When I have time, I will find the right educational opportunity for me. I always wanted to be a sports physio, so we’ll see.

Did you have a favourite subject?
Math’s was my favourite, and sciences – especially biology. I really enjoyed problem solving. Of course I loved PE.

So did you have a highlight in school?
There isn’t a specific highlight but I can remember the worst moment. My team lost in the under 14’s Welsh Cup (rugby) and I felt terrible. Can remember going on all the trips like skiing, which I really enjoyed. I also recall getting my A level results – I was late getting to school and my friends were already there, but the results were late anyway! I was really nervous then I saw my biology teacher who told me I had 3 B’s and have me a big hug!

Can you speak a foreign language?
Welsh is my first language so I can speak it fluently. I did French to GCSE level but I wish I’d done better in it!

If you could invite two people to dinner who would you invite?
Mohammed Ali – he stood up for his beliefs and principles and would be so interesting to talk to. Also Nelson Mandela. I shook his hand once but I’d love the chance to talk to him about his years in prison then ruling his country and making huge progress towards bringing an end to apartheid. I’d quite like to meet the President of USA and hear about secrets like Area 51, but that would be scary!!

What’s your favourite song?
I don’t have a favourite song. I recently bought an iPod so I’ve been downloading music including Franz Ferdinand, Jay-Z, U2, Stereophonics and Maroon 5 – all legally of course! I downloaded Daft Punk this morning. I also like classics like Otis Reading and David Cassidy. I like Duran Duran as well – you could say I like a broad range of music!

Do you have an embarrassing moment?
I once skied into a tree! Also, one of the other players kegged me in the middle of a busy street in Tokyo – he pulled my shorts down and I had full hands so couldn’t pull them up straight away, so that was pretty embarrassing.

What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve done?
I did a bungee jump from a bridge into a river in New Zealand. It was about a 43 metre fall. It was terrifying but good fun and the adrenaline rush was just so immense! I also did a bungee jump off a crane in Swansea but as I was going down I had a wedgy!

What’s the highlight of your career in rugby?
Getting my 1st cap for my country. Being part of the Grand Slam winning squad is very special. I think the France away game was the best this season – the way we were behind until the second half and then came back to win, it was a stunning performance!!

Have you swapped shirts with any prestigious players?
No, I always keep my shirts. I have the shirt from my first cap, but Scott Gibbs swapped his shirt and then gave it to me, which was nice.

And finally, can you describe the emotions you felt after winning the Grand Slam?
It was a unique situation. Initially I felt hysteria and jubilation, and the adrenaline was pumping. It was crazy and the atmosphere was intense. Everyone was clapping, it was a very humbling experience. I was gutted not to play the final – I was pulled out of the team the day before the final, due to injury.

Whilst consulting on the Health, Social Care and Well-being Strategy, Torfaen Local Health Board and the County Borough Council realised the need for something specifically for young people and the idea of producing a Health, Social Care and Well-being magazine was formed.

Cardiff Blues and Grand Slam-winning rugby star Rhys Williams kindly agreed be interviewed for SPK Out.

For further information on SPK Out please contact Catherine Gregory, Torfaen Local Health Board on 01495 332274 or [email protected]