Prior to his career being plagued with injury, Rugby World caught up with Simon to discuss practical jokes, Buzz Lightyear, screaming like a girl and a common case of mistaken identity.
RUGBY WORLD: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen on the pitch?
SIMON WEBSTER: One of our props, Joel Brannigan, once got up off the floor, saw a fight going on about ten metres away and thought he should get involved. So he punched the nearest guy, their centre who’d run 20 metres to break up the fight. It was just the sight of him getting up off the floor and punching someone. I watched that backwards and forwards on video about 50 times the next morning and came pretty close to wetting myself.
RW: What about practical jokes?
SW: Craig Joiner once did this magazine feature at his house. The picture they used on the cover was him in the bath, so we scanned this picture loads of times, made up some posters and stuck them to lamp-posts on his street. He actually got propositioned by his gay neighbour!
RW: Have you ever been mistaken for somebody else?
SW: Dougie Hall. He wears a scrum cap similar to mine and sometimes in video analysis they say, ‘Webbo, you shouldn’t be doing that’. But it isn’t me. It never works to my advantage because he never does anything that good!
RW: What do you have to do as an initiation after your Scotland debut?
SW: We have to sing a song on the bus, and it’s been extended now to your first try, first Six Nations game, first tour and so on. I’ve had to sing four or five times – Johnny B. Good, a bit of Bon Jovi and this rap thing – but I’m rubbish. Kelly Brown sang Chocolate Salty Balls, from South Park, on his debut and it was awesome, phenomenal. He also does the Baywatch theme tune really well. He’s a really good singer – after the last autumn game he just got up and sang.
Animation, Nicknames and Phobias…
RW: If a movie was made of your life, who would play you?
SW: My girlfriend, Chrystal, says Mel Gibson, which is a bit strange. I really like Buzz Lightyear, but I don’t know if I could have a cartoon, although that would probably suit me better.
RW: Would you want him in rugby kit?
SW: No, I’d keep the astronaut suit – the range of sub-plots could then be wider!
RW: What’s your catchphrase?
SW: I don’t really have one, but I do try to promote my nickname: Nitro. This all started when Mike Blair called himself Blade, saying when he was younger he used to cut through defences like a blade. Even Frank Hadden calls him Blade. Simon Taylor then called himself Apollo – I don’t know why and nobody calls him it – so I decided to try Nitro. It’s not really caught on though.
RW: What three things would you save if your house was burning down?
SW: My girlfriend. My motorbike so I could go somewhere. It’s a Mini Moto so you’re not supposed to drive it on the road but the police might let me off if my house was burning down! And my thermos flask because it might be cold.
RW: Would you have time to fill it up?
SW: It depends which room was on fire.
RW: What are your phobias?
SW: Spiders. I lived with just my mum and sister for a few years. They used to scream when they saw one. Now I do the same. Chrystal has to hoover them up!
RW: Breasts, bums or legs?
SW: Bum and legs. I like Cameron Diaz, but Cameron Diaz in The Mask – she’s getting a little old now.
RW: If you could have one superpower what would it be?
SW: Can I only have one power or could I be Superman with lots of powers?
RW: Just one power.
SW: To fly. No, strength. No, the speed of Superman – then I’d be able to fly too.
A cheeky try…
Learn more about Simon’s teammates at Scotland…Like Rugby World? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.