England and Bath hooker, Lee Mears caught up with Rugby World to talk about cooking a mean Beef Wellington, being slightly OCD on cleaning, and Matt Steven’s bad luck.
RUGBY WORLD: Bath seem to have a good team spirit right now. Who are the jokers at the club?
LEE MEARS: David Barnes and Dave Flatman. We call Barnesy ‘Teletext’ because he always knows everything before anyone else! Flats is the MC of the club. He’s very chatty and witty, and does all our presentations and stuff. You can see why he’s so good on TV.
RW: Are there any practical jokes?
LM: I’m more of an observer, but I egg people on. It’s often quite funny to text people how big Barnesy’s appendage is or that he’s the best front-rower in the country, sending it to everyone in his phone book. As the top man in the PRA he’s got some pretty big names in that. We also have an award every couple of weeks for various misdemeanours. Recently we gave one to Moose Knuckle after their gig at a charity dinner. Duncan Bell, Martin Purdy, Peter Short and Rob Hawkins dressed up as a rock band. Put ‘Moose Knuckle gig’ into YouTube and you’ll see why it was funny. [Clips below]
RW: What about with England?
LM: Moodos (Lewis Moody) is the big joker there. He likes to play this game called Danger. He’ll hide in your room or behind a door and wait for you, then jump out and shout at the top of his voice “Danger!”. You s*** yourself. He once snuck into Julian White’s room after the cleaner had left his door open and waited and waited for Whitey, who didn’t find it very funny!
Wii, Karaoke and Learning to cook like a South African…
RW: If your house was on fire, what three things would you save?
LM: My laptop, my mobile phone and my Wii. I like a bit of tennis and I’ve got all the new Mario sports games. I don’t have much time to play on it because we’ve got a kid now, but my missus likes it so we have a few good battles.
RW: Do you have any bugbears?
LM: Mess. I hate mess. My missus, Danielle, would definitely say I had OCD. I do all the cleaning, but she hears about it! I always say, “I’m doing it again.”
RW: Who’s your ideal woman?
LM: Obviously my wife. But if she wasn’t available, [actress] Jessica Alba.
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on the pitch?
LM: Matt Stevens hurt his shoulder and our prop sub was already on. This was when you could only go off for blood in the front row so he wanted someone to cut him and produce blood. He chose Danny Grewcock! Grewy punched him in the face, Matt thought his face was going to implode, but it didn’t cut him. This was in the middle of the pitch, but we were kicking for goal so people weren’t watching. Grewy was thinking of other ways to cut him and just butted him with his scrum cap on. That didn’t work and Matt said he’d do it himself!
RW: Do you have a karaoke song?
LM: We do like a bit of karaoke at the back of the bus. There are the classics like American Pie and The Gambler, but my latest one is Summer of ‘69.
RW: We also hear you’re a good cook…
LM: I like to think so. Beef Wellington is my big speciality, but at the moment I’m really into a South African tradition called Potjie [pronounced poikee]. It’s a big cast-iron pot like a witch’s cauldron and you can use it to cook outside or inside on the stove. The more you cook in it, the more things pick up the flavour of the pot. Some South African friends stayed last summer and introduced me to the Weber, which is a BBQ that uses hot rocks instead of charcoal. Anything you cook on it has a BBQ taste but is really succulent. They bought me one for Christmas so I’m looking forward to using it in the summer.
Check out Moose Knuckle’s Gig…
Check him out having a bit of fun at Scrum on the Beach…
Learn more about Lee’s teammates at Bath…