Rugby World caught up with the famous All Black while he was still at Newcastle Falcons to talk about pre-season training, the ‘pain train’, and living the ‘Good Life’ after rugby.
RUGBY WORLD: So how has pre-season training gone?
CARL HAYMAN: We trained with the local American Football and basketball teams. It’s good to keep things varied. The American Football guys were good on footwork, changing direction and so on. It gives you a different perspective. I certainly learned a few things.
RW: There’s a lot of changes in the Falcons squad – is everyone settling in well?
CH: Because there are a lot of new guys it makes it easier – everyone is in the same boat. With 15-odd new players, even for the guys already here it’s almost like starting over again.
RW: Are you enjoying the role of captain?
CH: It’s reasonably new to me, but I’ve enjoyed it so far. It presents its own challenges, but with the amount of new guys coming in, it’s a fresh start for the Falcons and I’m excited about it.
RW: You’ll be looking for a better start than last season…
CH: Hitting the ground running is crucial. We’ve got to get points on the board early. I hope we don’t leave it until February to start playing good rugby.
RW: Are you now used to the Geordie accent?
CH: I realised I was used to it when Jimmy Gopperth couldn’t understand a few locals and I could. I’ve even started picking up a few Geordie words. My vocab’s been extended! I use things like ‘Howay man’ – I’m not sure what the local boys think.
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?
CH: Off the top of my head, Tim Swinson running up the pitch last year shouting: ‘Here comes the pain train’. The funniest thing about it was that he was just chasing up a kick! He received a bit of ribbing about that.
Phobias, Terminator and Life after rugby…
RW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
CH: Flying. I’d start off by flying to training to beat the rush hour and work my way from there. It would make the game quite interesting – no one could tackle you.
RW: Do you have any phobias?
CH: I used to have a fear of sharks, but that was from watching too many Jaws movies when I was young. I’ve been surfing for ten years so I’ve got over that.
RW: Do you surf in Newcastle?
CH: There’s a group of boys who try to get out in the North Sea when we have time off, although thick wetsuits are key.
RW: If your house was on fire, what three things would you save?
CH: Apart from whoever else was in the house, if I was going for personal items it would have to be this old sweatshirt I like to wear. It’s from where I was born and has a ‘Surf Highway 45’ emblem on it. I’ve had it for ten to 12 years, but it’s still in one piece. It was a dark green but is heading towards a lighter shade of grey. After that, I’d save my computer because it’s got all my photos on it and my last item would be my wallet.
RW: What would you do if you were Prime Minister for the day?
CH: Look at MPs’ spending! A day’s not long enough to make too many changes so I’d probably just enjoy cruising around in all the cars and helicopters – making the most of that.
RW: Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?
CH: Out of interest, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s had an interesting life, going from films to politics, so it would be good to have a chat. I’m a big fan of his movies and the cheesy one-liners he comes out with. He’d also be able to rip the doors off and get us out.
RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
CH: The plan when I finish rugby is to start farming. I’d like to have a self-reliant lifestyle with a veggie garden and all that carry-on.
Weird, yet funny interview…
Learn more about Carl’s teammates at Toulon…