RUGBY WORLD: We hear you’re one of the Ireland team’s jokers…
FERGUS McFADDEN: No, that’s Donncha O’Callaghan. He gets up on the mic to hand out fines and punishments. Andrew Trimble is a funny guy too. He’s got a dry sense of humour, which I find very funny. It’s no holds barred – he even slags off coaches!
RW: Can you tell us any funny tour stories?
FM: Mike McCarthy went to do the SkyJump off Auckland’s Sky Tower but couldn’t jump so he did the walk of shame back down. The next day, he had to get up and tell everyone what had been running through his head. It was pretty funny.
RW: What three things would you save if your house was on fire?
FM: My espresso machine – I like coffee. My iPad. And my bear called Benny. He has sentimental value. I’ve had him since I was two or three and I couldn’t let him burn in a fire. I thought I’d lost him recently, but he’d fallen in my laundry and came back a few days later from the launderette, so he’s in good condition.
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?
FM: One of the funniest happened on tour. We were running through a move and Andrew Trimble went to ground, placing the ball back. Then Paul Marshall came in to clean out and farted in Andrew’s face. Andrew wasn’t happy and because he’s got long hair we kept telling him to wash it! Paul claims it just snuck out – he needs more control!
RW: Do you have any nicknames?
FM: Space Invader. When I talk to people I tend to get really close, like this. (He leans right up to my face.)
RW: That is pretty uncomfortable. Moving on, any phobias?
FM: I don’t like to be stuck in small places. I don’t mind lifts but if I was in a small area I’d panic pretty quickly.
RW: Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?
FM: Anyone in the world? Jimmy Carr. He’s funny and I don’t think he’d take it too seriously.
RW: What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind?
FM: Mike Tyson quotes. I don’t admire what he’s done, but he’s pretty outrageous.
RW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
FM: Invisibility. I could sneak around and go to places that I couldn’t normally go to.
RW: What couldn’t you live without?
FM: Er Buchetto. It’s a place we go to after training at Leinster for chats and coffees.
RW: Who would be your three dream dinner-party guests?
FM: Willie Bennett. He’s our bag man (‘Rala’ O’Reilly being absent following a back injury) and is a really nice guy. Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. Actually get Ali out of there, we’ll just have Mike Tyson. He’s very controversial and doesn’t care what people think. I think he’d be entertaining. For the third, I’ll throw in a female: Margaret Thatcher. She could add substance to some of the chat and she would be someone for Willie to pair off with – they’re in the same age bracket.
RW: What’s your guilty pleasure?
FM: The Sopranos. I can’t get enough of it.
RW: What are your bad habits?
FM: Eating too quickly. It’s very antisocial. It comes from boarding school and thinking people would nab your food if you didn’t eat quickly enough.
RW: Who’s the worst room-mate to have?
FM: Mike Ross, for hygiene reasons. He talks about scrums a lot and he snores.
RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
FM: I’d like to get my pilot’s licence.
RW: What are your bugbears?
FM: Someone asking me too many questions.
RW: Okay, let’s wrap up! How would you like to be remembered?
FM: Easy-going, fun and loyal.
This article appeared in the August 2012 issue of Rugby World Magazine.
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