Northampton Saint Harry Mallinder, who can play fly-half, centre and full-back, talks Disney films, degrees and dinner guests
Who are the jokers in the Saints squad?
George North always tries to scare you by hiding in cupboards. It’s always the older ones who are meant to be more sensible doing pranks, like Ben Foden. Kieran Brookes has a new one at the moment too. He pretends he’s carrying two cups full of hot coffee and then spills them over people. There’s nothing in them but people think there is and freak out.
What about room-mates?
Howard Packman has to watch a Disney film as he goes to bed every night!
Have you had any sledging on the pitch?
I get ‘Daddy’s boy’ all the time, without fail. I get it here (at Northampton) too, but it’s want I’m used to. It’s normality for me – he (Saints DoR Jim Mallinder) is my dad and my coach. Everyone always asks if we talk about selection in the car on the way home and I say, “No, because he goes home in his Audi and I go in my Fiesta.”
Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?
Definitely not Jamie Gibson. He’d talk too much.
Isn’t he quite clever?
So he tells us! I’d like to be in there with someone interesting, like Barack Obama.
What are your nicknames?
Harold, even though it’s not my name. And Giraffe. Apparently I look like a giraffe with my long neck and the way I run.
What do you do outside rugby?
I’m doing a business economics degree part-time through the Open University. It’s good to have something else to take your mind off rugby, especially last year, which was a bad year for me as I had a few injuries. You need something else to do. I’m interested in politics, too. Anything that’s a bit different.
I’m always thinking about rugby but it’s important to have something else to fall back on. In modern-day rugby, careers can end quickly.
What are your bugbears?
Loud eaters. There are a few here but I’m not going to call them out.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
The ability to fly. It would be amazing. You could get around so much quicker. I’d fly to New York – I love New York.
Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?
Cam Newton, a quarterback in American Football who is pretty cool. Rowan Atkinson – I love Mr Bean and all his characters. And Martin Luther King.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I’d back myself in table tennis. Matthew Syed (ex-table tennis pro) came to the club a couple of years ago and did a talk for us. A few of the lads had a go playing him but I hadn’t warmed up so didn’t want to show myself up! I really enjoyed his book, Bounce.
Outside of rugby, what do you want to achieve?
I want to finish my degree and to get a job from it. I don’t know in what field yet, but I don’t want to go into politics!
I’d like to play abroad at some stage and to travel the world. There are so many places I want to see. I’d like to go to South America and, when I’m old enough, to rent a car in America.
This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of Rugby World. For the latest subscription offers, click here.