When the Nordic powerhouse was at Sale he took some time out to chat about his best rugby moments, joking around at training and fancying himself as a part-time Dj.
RUGBY WORLD: You’ve got a few England caps now, but what did you have to do after winning your first one in Australia last summer?
RW: So do you belt out the anthem?
ML: Well, I don’t whisper it or stand there like footballers and not do anything, but I don’t sing really loud either.
RW: Who are England’s jokers?
ML: At the moment it’s the league boys back together – Andy Farrell and Jason Robinson. Robbo thinks he’s the king of banter, but he often gets shot down.
RW: What about at Sale? Are there any pranksters in the ranks?
ML: Steve Hanley and Pete Anglesea are always trying to do something, and Richard Wigglesworth. If you get caught in the middle of their war you’re in trouble. You could go outside and find your car wrapped in cling film – that’s happened to Wiggy. Pete isn’t around as much any more, but you know when he’s been in because people find their trainers tied together or holes cut in stuff.
Phillipe Saint-Andre, On the pitch banter and Staying out of the spotlight…
RW: And have you got any stories about Philippe Saint-André?
ML: He sometimes forgets people’s names. When Juan Fernandez Lobbe came over in the summer he kept calling him ‘brother of Nacho [Ignacio]’. I think he remembers his name now, though, given how well he’s been playing.
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on the pitch?
ML: I’m always psyched up when I’m playing so I don’t notice any joking, but there was something I saw on a video. In a game in [Sébastien] Chabal’s first season at Sale, some player was going to him, ‘Come on’ and trying to start something. Sea Bass jumped at him as though he was going to do something and the guy ran away but was still going, ‘Come on’ as he ran off! That was funny.
RW: What’s the best headline you’ve seen about yourself?
ML: I don’t really read what people write about me. Not like Mark Cueto, who tells everyone what’s been said and brings articles in to show people.
RW: What’s your best rugby moment?
ML: Last season as a whole because so many things happened – going to the Commonwealth Games Sevens, winning the Premiership and getting my first cap.
RW: And your worst?
ML: Any time I’ve been injured. It’s just frustrating. At the moment it might not be so bad as there are more guys injured and doing physio at Sale than fit!
RW: Win the World Cup or £1m?
ML: Win the World Cup and then hopefully make £1m after doing that.
Embarressing moments and Robbo’s lack of height…
RW: What’s the best thing you’ve achieved outside of rugby?
ML: Beating Mark Cueto at table tennis every time, although it’s not hard!
RW: When do you get embarrassed?
ML: Probably when I’ve had to look after my mates when they’ve got really drunk. One of the guys I live with, Gump, thinks he’s better-looking than he is and if you’re talking to a girl, he’ll come in and ‘grass cut’ you and mess it all up.
RW: When did you last laugh?
ML: When Robbo said that he was taller than 5ft 2in.
RW: What’s the most you’ve spent on something apart from a house or car?
ML: My decks. They’re in my basement and I like to mess about on them. I’d like to go to Ibiza for the music one summer.
RW: If you could have one superpower what would it be?
ML: To be able to do anything I want then I could have all the superpowers. I’d give Robbo a few more inches too.Like Rugby World? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.
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