‘The Bison’ has clocked more time and experience than most players, yet still plays with the same vigour and enthusiasm as he did when he first stepped onto the pitch in a Waikato shirt. The green fingered, scrum half/eco warrior took some time out to chat about pitch antics, best friends and a Desperate Housewife he’s enamoured with.
RUGBY WORLD: Who are the jokers in the Toulouse squad?
BYRON KELLEHER: Jean-Baptiste Elissalde is pretty crafty, especially with the younger guys. He once put a dead fish in someone’s locker. It went off in there and it stunk the place out!
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?
BK: Once, in the middle of the game, a guy had his undies ripped off. It was a big final so we were trying to be really serious and carried on playing. At the next ruck everything was on show – it’s not great having to put your head next to someone’s bits and pieces!
RW: If your house was on fire, what three things would you save?
BK: My All Blacks rugby jersey. And any other memorabilia from my rugby life. It all means a lot to me.
RW: What are your nicknames?
BK: I’m Wazza to the All Blacks because when I was young and just getting into the squad Josh Kronfeld thought my name was Warren. I didn’t say anything because he was an All Black and could call me whatever he wanted! So that turned into Wazza. And at Toulouse they call me The Bison.
RW: Do you have any phobias?
BK: I’m terrified of heights.
RW: And bugbears?
BK: Rude people irritate me. Manners cost nothing.
RW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
BK: I’d like to be able to see into the future so hopefully I could create good things.
RW: Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?
BK: Eva Longoria.
Stupid purchases, Keepsakes and Life after rugby…
RW: What’s your idea of a dream holiday?
BK: Palm trees, white sand, turquoise sea and hot weather. Anywhere tropical is perfect for me.
RW: What couldn’t you live without?
BK: My best friends. I’ve got a mate I’ve known for 20 years who I met through an ex-girlfriend. It’s great to spend time with the boys in the squad but you need to get away.
RW: What’s the silliest thing you’ve bought?
BK: Golf clubs because I never use them! Lots of the boys play golf but for me they were a complete waste of money.
RW: What’s your dream car?
BK: Aston Martin DB9, like James Bond! In the South of France with the roof down. Awesome.
RW: Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?
BK: Muhammad Ali because he’s my icon. Eva Longoria because she’s beautiful. And Barack Obama. I’d like to ask him about the environment, and find out his perspective on how he’s going to get the world out of this mess!
RW: Any bad habits?
BK: Nothing that can be printed I’m afraid!
RW: Do you collect anything unusual?
BK: I love travelling around different countries, and I always buy something for my house from every country I’ve been to, whether it’s a painting, a sculpture, or anything really just to remember the country by. At home in New Zealand I have a lovely big house in the middle of a fruit orchard.
RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
BK: Just to be happy and achieve my dreams. I’m involved in some environmental projects, and helped make a documentary called Home which was shown all round the world. As a rugby player from New Zealand I wanted the chance to give something back, and I want to make people realise that we’ve only got one world so we should look after it.
RW: Who is your ideal woman?
BK: Eva Longoria – are you starting to see a theme here?!
RW: How would you like to be remembered?
BK: As a bubbly person and someone easy to get on with.
Learn more about Byron’s teammates at New Zealand…Like Rugby World? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.
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