When Shaun Perry was at Bristol, he took half and hour out to talk to Rugby World about cooking, phobias, early memories and what its like to wear an England shirt.
RUGBY WORLD: So how are you finding life in the England squad?
SHAUN PERRY: It’s going really well. It was a bit overwhelming coming into training with guys like Charlie Hodgson, Martin Corry and Lewis Moody – they’ve got so many caps between them. But I’m enjoying it. They’re a good bunch of lads and I get on really well with them all.
RW: Do you get any stick from the lads at Bristol about your rise into the England squad?
SP: Yeah, it’s mainly from Ronnie [Mark Regan]. Every time I wear any England gear, he’s like, ‘Look at you with your rose!’ I’ve got a bit of stick from Dave Hilton as well, and Matt Salter – you wouldn’t expect it from him, would you?
Jokers, Early morning gym sessions, Flatmate…
RW: So who are the jokers at Bristol?
SP: Gareth Llewellyn likes a joke, and Ronnie and Salts. They do things like using your towel or hiding your boots or putting things in your shoes – Dan Ward-Smith is a pain in the arse for that. We don’t really play serious practical jokes, but I heard this story about someone at another club cementing two garden gnomes in another player’s drive so they couldn’t get their car out in the morning!
RW: What’s the best thing about being a professional rugby player?
SP: Just being able to do something I enjoy doing. Rugby was always a hobby for me and now it’s my job.
RW: And the worst?
SP: Probably having to get up really early to go to the gym for a weights session. You have to get up at 6.45am, have your breakfast, then be there by 8am. Doing a full-body then isn’t great – you’re not really awake!
RW: Bristol started pre-season training way back in June, but the early start seems to have paid off?
SP: Yeah, it has. We managed to get three solid weeks of fitness training done and we started the season really well. We won’t get carried away with ourselves, though. We finished 11th in the Premiership last year and the aim is to finish higher than that this season.
RW: You share a house with Bristol No 8 Dan Ward-Smith. So, what’s a normal night like round at yours?
SP: We just like to chill out. We take it in turns to cook and whoever’s cooking does everything – buys the stuff, cooks it and washes up. So the other person can just do nothing – watch TV or do whatever. It works really well. My speciality is Cantonese chicken – and it’s quite easy!
Leggings, Arachnophobia and an embarressing trip to Paris…
RW: The latest fashion craze among rugby players appears to be leggings. Do you wear them?
SP: Yeah, they’re comfy! Admittedly, you do look a bit of an idiot if you’re walking down the street after training with your leggings and shorts on. You do get a few dodgy looks off people.
RW: Do you have any phobias?
SP: I’m not keen on spiders, or heights. I’m crap at heights. I went to Paris with my missus, Kimberley, and we were going to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. You get a lift that takes you halfway up, then you have to walk round the edge and get another lift to the top. I got halfway up and couldn’t go any further. I had to get the lift back down!
RW: What’s your earliest memory?
SP: Oh, I don’t know – playing football for my school when I was eight. I get knocked on the head every week so I can’t remember much!
RW: When did you last laugh?
SP: Probably about an hour ago. I was playing table tennis with Mark Cueto and he’s rubbish!
Keep up to date on Shauns movements, check out his profile at CA Brive
Check out Shaun’s try against New Zealand on his international debut for England…
Learn more about Shaun’s teammates at England…