Rugby World caught up with Paul ‘Digger’ Diggin, the UGG boot wearing winger at high flying Northampton Saints to chat about sheepskin coats, funny phobias and practial jokes.
RUGBY WORLD: The Saints seem to have a great team spirit – does that help on the pitch?
PAUL DIGGIN: Definitely. The squad go out together and hang out with each other after training, so you’re happy to put your body on the line for your mates; you work hard for them.
RW: Who are the club’s jokers?
PD: The main one is Chris Ashton. He gets very bored, very easily, so you have to be careful. If you don’t lock your locker, he’ll empty it or put all your kit on the floor. He never has any kit either so he’s always nicking other people’s. He moves guys’ cars about, too, and even sprayed Paul Shields’s and Sean Lamont’s hubcaps pink. He’s not the sort of guy you want to have a vendetta with.
RW: Can you share any other practical jokes?
PD: The usual one is with academy lads, who are pretty nervous and want to impress. You go into the team room and tell them Jim (Mallinder) is looking for them, that he’s going off his head and they must have done something pretty bad. They haven’t done a thing wrong but they really start to panic.
RW: That sounds mean!
PD: Yeah, but it’s funny. People did the same thing to me when I was in the academy.
RW: If your house was on fire, what three things would you save?
PD: My dog, Jake, a black Labrador. My iPhone – I couldn’t live without that. And my Uggs.
RW: The girls’ shoes?!
PD: No, these are men’s ones – they have thicker soles. I live in them – about eight of us at the club have them.
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?
PD: There was a maul and one of our players was being held by his shorts. Slowly but surely they came down until his bum was hanging out. Then his shorts ripped and he was doing a full-on moon.
RW: Care to name him?
PD: I couldn’t possibly comment – Matt Lord!
Las Vegas, Seaweed and Stupid purchases…
RW: Do you have any nicknames?
PD: Digger and Whisky Face. I get sunburnt easily and the boys say I look like an alcoholic.
RW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
PD: It sounds boring but to fly would be amazing. You could do whatever you wanted.
RW: What’s your idea of a dream holiday?
PD: Two weeks in Las Vegas with £20,000 in my pocket.
RW: What are your bugbears?
PD: People who eat with their mouth open. We’ve just managed to get Chris Ashton to stop troughing his food and after two years Stephen Myler is finally starting to eat vegetables!
RW: Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?
PD: The actor Chris Rock – he’s funny so could entertain everyone. David Walliams as he’d have some good stories to tell I’m sure and Marilyn Monroe – good stories as well and not bad to look at! Maybe Floyd Mayweather too – I like boxing.
RW: Any phobias?
PD: I’m not that great with spiders. Neil Best is scared of seaweed!
RW: Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?
PD: Angelina Jolie, before she got super-skinny. She was much better with all the curves.
RW: What’s the silliest thing you’ve bought?
PD: When I was 16 I bought a sheepskin coat – I was shopping with my mates and they all said it looked good. Then when I went to school the next day they all ripped me and couldn’t believe I’d got it.
RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
PD: A job! I can’t play rugby forever and I went to the university of life, so I’ll be struggling when this rugby game is over. So if anyone has any rich daughters they want to hook me up with that would be cool!
RW: How do you want to be remembered?
PD: As a hard-working, fun-loving, jokey little scamp at Northampton.
Find out more about Paul’s teammates at Northampton…Like Rugby World? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.