When Rowland Phillips was still a player, he spoke to Rugby World about practical jokes, there being no life outside rugby and becoming the embarrassing uncle at weddings. Don’t be fooled by the picture, scroll down to see the joker at work.
RUGBY WORLD: How did you celebrate Neath’s Welsh Premiership win?
ROWLAND PHILLIPS: It was more subdued than you’d expect. We played our last league game the week before the final round of games, so Newport were still able to take the title with a 15-try win over Pontypridd. The weekend of that game we were having a memorial match for Brian Williams on the Sunday – I played in the same team as my son, Lloyd, 18, and we both scored tries – so the cup was presented there. Although it was a big ask for Newport to beat Ponty and score 15 tries, you haven’t won until you’ve won, so we had to wait until then to celebrate.
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on the pitch?
RP: I take my rugby very seriously –all my laughing is done off the pitch.
RW: Any good practical jokes that you can share?
RP: In New Zealand on the Welsh tour in 1988 I have to confess to persuading the hotel receptionist to put out a tannoy message calling for a ‘Don Kiddick’ to report to the foyer. She put out continuous requests for Don Kiddick for at least ten minutes, to the amusement of the rest of the squad.
RW: What’s your nickname?
RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
RP: There’s life outside rugby?
RW: What three things would you save if your house was burning down?
RP: Both my children and my dog. If you give me the opportunity to save four things, then I’d take the TV. Five things, I’d add my wife to the list (only joking – probably the stereo).
Michael Jackson, Little Red Riding Hood and Cuddly Toys…
RW: What are your phobias?
RP: Flying – because it tires my arms.
RW: Do you have a karaoke song?
RP: Anything by Mozart
RW: Breasts, bum or legs man?
RP: I’ve got it all. I quite like my breasts.
RW: If you could have one superpower what would it be?
RP: To be able to predict the past.
RW: What embarrasses you?
RP: Having now turned into the embarrassing uncle at weddings (though I do a good Michael Jackson).
RW: What are the best and worst headlines you’ve seen about yourself?
RP: Worst – Something like ‘Wales tourist gets hotel receptionist sacked through childish Don Kiddick prank.’ Best – Wales tourist gets ‘Don Kiddick receptionist’ reinstated after mounting defence at appeal’.
RW: What are your bugbears?
RP: Are those cuddly toys?
RW: Have you ever been starstruck?
RP: No, but I imagine that would hurt.
RW: What’s your favourite joke?
RP: Little Red Riding Hood is skipping through the forest on her way to see her grandma when she sees a big bad wolf behind the bush. “What big eyes you’ve got, and what shiny teeth!” she says. The wolf looks at her and runs into the forest. She continues skipping through the forest and spots something behind a tree. Again, it’s the big bad wolf.“What big eyes you’ve got, and what shiny teeth!” she says. The wolf looks at her again and runs into the forest. She continues on her way and behind a rock something again catches her eye. It’s the big bad wolf again. “What big eyes you’ve got and what shiny teeth!” she says. The big bad wolf looks at her and says: “Do me a favour, go away, and let me have a s**t in peace!”
RW: How do you stay entertained on long-haul flights?
RP: I sing out loud. My favourite is 500 Million Green Bottles Sitting on a Wall.
RW: Win the World Cup or £2m?
RP: Win the World Cup – that would be priceless.
Rowland now coaches Aironi rugby club in Italy.
He obviously takes life seriously… (apologies for the spelling mistake)Like Rugby World? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.