Rugby World caught up with the Irish and Munster lock about all things comical. His phobia of cotton wool, being a brutal singer, taking ducks into a Munster management meeting and the infamous Cardiff game. [Clip Below]
RUGBY WORLD: You’re known as a big trickster. What’s the best practical joke you’ve ever played?
DONNCHA O’CALLAGHAN: I suppose the best one was taking ducks into a Munster management meeting, but I had to clean up their mess afterwards so it was the best and the worst. It was funny for four or five minutes but two hours later when I was still cleaning up duck s**t, I’d had enough of it.
RW: On the Lions tour, didn’t you pull down Alastair Campbell’s shorts?
DC: That was Paul O’Connell but I get the blame for it because I’ve got the rep. Campbell deserves everything he gets, he’s a joke shop! We didn’t know him that well over here before the tour – in Cork he’s not big news – and we wanted to make him feel part of the squad.
RW: Do you have any ongoing practical joke battles with anyone?
DC: I try and stay clear of them. I did have one with Geordan [Murphy], but he’s one of those guys who’ll always get you back – and better. I’m trying to think of something to do for the World Cup. It’s a long time for the team to be away so I need a few ideas. At the last World Cup the lads had good craic; it’s something you need to relieve tension.
RW: What does Geordan do?
DC: He’s forever jumping on Shane Horgan. He’s on a run of scaring him and gets a kick out of Shaggy screaming like a girl. He puts a lot of work into it, like hiding in a cupboard for an hour.
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on the pitch?
DC: An opposition player – I won’t say who – once said to Anthony Foley ‘You fat f***er’ and Axel replied with, ‘Have you not got any mirrors in your house?’. The funniest thing about it was how funny John Hayes found it; he sort of crumpled over laughing, which was contagious. That’s the best way to stop John Hayes – make him laugh.
Temper tantrums, Cotton wool, and his Lucky pants
RW: If your house was on fire, what three things would you save?
DC: SkyPlus, photo albums and my first Irish cap/Lions jersey. SkyPlus is the best thing ever. I record loads of things, but I’ve been hit by a signal failure once or twice and then I act like a ten-year-old.
RW: Who’s your ideal woman?
DC: Bar my girlfriend Jenny, TV presenter Sharon Ní Bheoláin is high on my list. She makes me watch the news!
RW: Do you have any phobias?
DC: Cotton wool. I don’t like the noise it makes when you pull it apart, that squeak. It freaks me out.
RW: What are the best and worst headlines you’ve seen about yourself?
DC: I don’t think I’ve had the best one yet. The worst ones were all about me in my jocks in the Cardiff game last season [clip below]. I won’t live it down. I still get comments about it. Munster have kids camps and there’s always some seven-year-old who’ll leap on you. If I could go back to that moment I wouldn’t do it again. They were my best pants – I’m a bit superstitious even though I like to think I’m not – and I used to wear them for every game. Now they’re ruined and their luck has gone!
RW: Do you have a karaoke song?
DC: I got a karaoke machine for Christmas. At the time I was living with three buddies and it was something I did between rugby sessions. Anyway one day they caught me practising – I was doing a bit of Enrique [Inglesias] – so I had to get rid of it. I’m brutal – that’s why I was practising.
RW: Win the World Cup or €1m?
DC: Win the World Cup. It would be unbelievable. I’ve tasted success with Munster – you can’t beat that feeling.
The infamous Cardiff match…
Learn more about Donncha’s teammates at Ireland…