Mark Cueto during an England training session

He may now be well known for the disallowed try at the World Cup Final in 2007 [clip below], but during the 2008/09 pre-season training we caught up with ‘Cuets’ to chat about any pre-match routines, embarrassing moments, and why Sale players can’t be trusted with bikes. 

RUGBY WORLD: So, did you have a nice summer break?

MARK CUETO: I had five weeks off in total and managed to get away for a week to Gran Canaria, but that feels like a year ago now we’re back in pre-season training.

RW: How tough has training been?

MC: It has been pretty intense but it’s well structured. We’re only in from nine to lunchtime so you’re doing a few sessions in a short space of time, which is intense, but then you’re at home in the afternoon. In the past we’ve been in all day, but in a way you work a bit harder when you know you can go home at lunchtime than if you’re in nine to four, so it’s been going really well.

RW: Have there been any practical jokes going on in pre-season?

MC: Walshy, our new fitness coach Steve Walsh, has been doing a lot of things to keep us off our feet, so we’re not doing too much running. We still need to get CV work done, though, so we’ve been cycling, swimming and rowing, and a lot of the guys have invested in bikes. They’re not £100 jobs from Halfords; people have spent quite a bit of money. While the lads are upstairs training, their bikes are out front and a few wheels and seats have gone “missing”. It definitely wasn’t me.

RW: Are there a lot of jokers at Sale?

MC: There’s always banter flying around and everyone seems to be on the bandwagon. Nine times out of ten it’s between the different nationalities as there’s quite a big mix in the squad.

Nicknames, Superstitions and Embarrassing moments…

RW: What are your nicknames?

MC: Cuets is the obvious one, and Frank. My old man’s called Frank so there’s a lot of thought behind it! A lot of the lads know my old man because he comes to every game. He’s very opinionated and says what he thinks; he doesn’t hold back. He’s a legend in his own right.

RW: Do you have a pre-match routine?

MC: I’m massively superstitious – the meal I have before a game, what boot I put on first. It starts from the minute I get out of bed. I need to get rid of them.

RW: Any embarrassing moments?

MC: I’d injured my ankle a couple of years ago and was on crutches. I had a plastic boot on the ankle and I couldn’t weight-bear. We were flying to France for a Sale game and as we were going up the stairs to board the plane one of the lads pulled my pants down. I was on the crutches and couldn’t weight-bear, so I couldn’t pull them up and my tracksuit bottoms were round my ankles for everyone in the world to see for about five minutes. Luckily I had undies on.

RW: Which person would you like to be stuck in a lift with?

MC: I recently saw that Will Smith film Hancock so I’ll say Charlize Theron.

RW: What can’t you live without?

MC: My mobile phone.

RW: Do you have any bugbears?

MC: I’m a bit of a girl really. Things that annoy me are being untidy. When we come in from training, I fold all my kit up and put it to the side of my bag. The lads see that, come over and ruffle it all up because they know I’ve got a bit of OCD.

RW: Do you have a karaoke song?

MC: No, but the song I sang when I won my first cap was Robbie Williams’s Angels. It went down a treat. Normally it’s just the lads on the bus after a game, so when you stand up and sing people throw things at you and shout. But on the night of my first cap a lot of girlfriends and wives were there as well and loads of people joined in.

RW: Stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?

MC: My girlfriend, Suzie. She would be enough.

Check out his profile for England

Here’s a reminder of that infamous decision…

Another clip of Cuets but in a few bad tackles…

Learn more about Mark’s teammates at Sale Sharks…

Dwayne Peel

Chris Bell