When the Wasps flanker was still finding his feet at the beginning of his career he chatted to Rugby World about training with the Marines, eating planets, messing around and sharing his thoughts on post-rugby life.
RUGBY WORLD: So how did you find training with the marines?
TOM REES: Once I got over the initial feeling of dread it was really good fun, but I’m glad I’m not in the marines full-time.
RW: What kind of things did you do?
TR: It was a mixture. There was a series of challenges, some of them skill-based, some mental, some physical. It was all about working together in teams under pressure; they would make us feel uncomfortable and then see how we reacted to that. I was just glad Simon Shaw was in my team. Everything we did, it was ‘How can we best use Shawsy?’ He was great, carrying people over things – our JCB.
RW: Casting your mind back a few months, how did you celebrate winning the Heineken Cup?
TR: I think I spent most of that week either out or hungover!
RW: Have you got any good stories about practical jokes?
TR: I have to mention James Haskell. He’s a great character, on and off the pitch, and has a very sharp wit, but he tends to be on the receiving end of things at Wasps. He went with a few England players to Rome to meet the Pope and the next day, plastered all over the club, were pictures of him standing behind the Pope with nobody else in the shot. It looked like he’d pushed his way into the picture. He gets a fair bit of stick.
RW: Is it true that he likes to be called the Haskellator?
TR [laughing]: He’ll kill me. He has been trying to get known by that name. If you called him that, you’d get a response.
RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
TR: I haven’t a clue. The prospect of post-rugby is very daunting. I’m hoping I’ll find something I like doing and if I hear a good idea I’ll jump on the bandwagon. Haskell always has plenty of ideas to make a quick buck and if anything sounds above board I’ll get involved.
Film buff, Gaming geek, Jessica Rabbit, and becoming Galactus…
RW: What three things would you save if your house was on fire?
TR: Luckily I’ve got nothing of value in my house – I keep all that at my parents’ in case I break it. I’ve got a fairly big DVD collection – over 200 – so I’d save as much of that as I could. Rather than do anything constructive with my free time I watch films and play computer games.
RW: So you’re a big film buff?
TR: Yeah, I go through phases of what I like – westerns, war films and so on. The one film I keep coming back to is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The only film I’ve never been able to watch all the way through is Napoleon Dynamite; I gave up after half an hour.
RW: What are the best and worst headlines you’ve seen about yourself?
TR: ‘Dumped By Hotel Cleaner’ was the worst. It was a story that wasn’t true in The Sun about how I’d been told I was being released from the England squad by the hotel cleaner. I’ve seen a few of ‘Rees Lightning’ but I still haven’t seen one I want to cut out and put on my wall.
RW: Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?
TR: My girlfriend won’t be happy, but Jessica Rabbit. I had a huge crush on her.
RW: If you could have one superpower what would it be?
TR: I recently saw Fantastic Four 2 and a guy in that, Galactus, eats planets. Being able to eat a planet would be pretty cool.
RW: Win the World Cup or £1m?
TR: I’m trying to buy a house at the moment so £1m would come in useful. I’d be able to get rid of £1m pretty quickly, but the World Cup would stay with me forever so I’ll be boring and say that.
Take a look at what Tom’s been up to since we caught up with him…
Learn more about Tom’s teammates at Wasps…Like Rugby World? Subscribe to the magazine for the latest comprehensive content.