When Tom Biggs was at Leeds Carnegie, he took some time out to chat to Rugby World about relegation, team building, working at a Pea factory and Lionel Richie being his go to for karaoke.
RUGBY WORLD: Many congratulations on your promotion. So how did you all celebrate?
TOM BIGGS: We thought it would come down to the Rotherham game, but then they lost to Doncaster, so winning the title came completely out of the blue. We all went to the Walkabout in Leeds– players and coaches – and it was a really enjoyable night. To wrap it up two weeks early took a bit of pressure off.
RW: Did you ever think about leaving when Leeds went down last season?
TB: I’m not going to lie and say I was always going to stay. I did think about my own future, but Leeds was the club I always wanted to play for. Some people said I was daft but I’ve proved them wrong. The goal we set was to get the club back up. We knew it wasn’t going to be a walkover like it was for Harlequins, but we had great determination and we got our reward.
RW: With so many squad changes did you do team-building exercises?
TB: It was a totally new team – more new players than existing ones – so we went on a camp to the Lake District. It was important we all gelled. It took time, but we’ve now built up a great spirit.
Nicknames, Teen jobs and Lionel Richie…
RW: Have you got any nicknames?
TB: I’ve got a few unfortunately. The Ginger Prince is one I get quite a lot – that’s stuck from last year. Then there’s Bigg Time and the usual ginger ones.
RW: What are the best and worst headlines you’ve seen about yourself?
TB: The best is Braid Heart – my hair was braided earlier this season. It made me laugh. The worst was Easy Peasy For Biggs a few years ago. I used to work in a pea factory and scored a few tries early in the season. That was embarrassing.
RW: You used to work in a pea factory?
TB: Yeah. You do a 12-hour shift from six in the morning to six in the evening, washing peas and putting them in boxes to be frozen. I spent two summers doing that when I was 18 and 19, and it is definitely my worst-ever job.
RW: Do you have a karaoke song?
TB: Yes, Lionel Richie’s Hello. I don’t go to karaoke very often but on long bus trips we all usually get up and sing. There are a few long trips in National One and then I can give a rendition of a whole Lionel Richie album!
RW: If your house was on fire, what three things would you save?
TB: My signed Ryan Giggs shirt, my Powergen Cup-winning shirt and my computer. I had my laptop stolen last year and lost all my pictures, and I wouldn’t want to lose them again.
Football, Food and Phobias…
RW: Who do you think is overrated?
TB: There are a lot of overrated people in football. I’d say [Chelsea boss] Jose Mourinho. If I had all that money to spend I’m confident I could win every game.
RW: Do you have any phobias?
TB: I don’t like spiders very much –I don’t trust the way they move – so I step on them as soon as possible. If I see one I’ve got to get rid of it.
RW: What’s your favourite meal?
TB: I love Mustafa’s in Hull, which is a Greek restaurant. They do great steak, and beef Stroganoff. It’s near where my parents live and I go about once a month.
RW: When did you last laugh?
TB: I laugh quite a lot. Today at training, we were playing football and one lad – Kearnan Myall – tried a bit of skill with his foot over the ball but wiped himself out.
RW: What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?
TB: At school, a dog ran on and took someone out. It was a small, low dog but it ran straight at the guy’s legs.
RW: What would your gravestone say?
TB: He came, he saw, he conquered.
Want to know what Tom’s been upto since then? Check out his player profile at Bath