The highly experienced Welsh fullback and all-round sports star took time out in March 2008 to chat about nicknames, amazing christmas presents, perfecting the technique to fly and being a player that hates mud.
RUGBY WORLD: So who are the jokers in the pack with Clifton and Wales?
NON EVANS: The star of the show is Clare Flowers, who always raises our spirits when we are down. She insists on using her horse’s name, Bobby, or her dog’s, Milo, in almost all our calls on the field and her impressions of Milo are worth paying to see.
RW: When you and Clare are together, what’s your party piece?
NE: We normally blast out the Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams. She thinks she’s about to be discovered for The X Factor or Big Brother. We think we’re fantastic, singing it at the top of our voices, but perhaps others don’t agree.
RW: What are your nicknames?
NE: With my name people just lengthen it. At Clifton we have Nolli Waterman in the back three, which is confusing when people call me Nonny. Her real name is Danielle and before the first Wales v England game she played in I was asking who this Danielle was on their wing, before realising it was Nolli! The most famous nickname in women’s rugby is, of course, Bird for Liza Burgess. Not many people know her real name!
RW: Did you have a good Christmas?
NE: Well, I certainly had one never to forget as my boyfriend, Mark Perego [ex-Llanelli and Wales], bought me a flat! I lived in this old cottage in Cardiff and I haven’t got time to deal with damp and things. Just before Christmas he said to come up to one of the rugby clubs where you’ll find your present. And there was the flat overlooking it!
Big presents, Confined spaces and Dan Carter…
RW: Where did you two meet?
NE: I was between jobs organising Rupert Moon’s testimonial in 2000. He gave me a list of all the players from the 1980s and 1990s to get them to play in a testimonial match. When I finally tracked Mark down we talked on the phone for an hour and I don’t think I went home for five days after the game!
RW: So how is Mark going to treat you for Valentine’s Day?
NE: Well, with the Six Nations in full swing I won’t have time. Looking at my diary my next big night out is 15 March, so I might have to settle for a meal.
RW: Apart from small Christmas presents, do you have any phobias?
NE: I’m not great in confined spaces and when I recently went for an MRI scan on my back I had to press the panic button. I sometimes have a problem at the bottom of rucks. I never did with judo [she competed in the Commonwealth Games], but that was one-on-one. I also hate mud, which is hard to avoid when you’re a rugby player. It’s just that it gets everywhere! Dubai was my perfect rugby venue – and we won.
RW: Which person would you like to be stuck in a lift with?
NE: Dan Carter, so I could cheer him up. I train at the Vale Hotel near Cardiff, where the All Blacks were based for the World Cup quarter-final. He always looked a little down when I saw him.
RW: You must have bugbears too…
NE: People being late kills me! I’m always on time or early, so I don’t see why other people can’t be. If a training day starts at 9am, get there at 9am!
RW: If you could have one superpower what would it be?
NE: It would have to be flying because I regularly dream about being able to fly. In fact, I have perfected the take-off technique and the feeling I have to have inside to get up and how to maintain the flight. I know how to do it! I also can’t stand traffic because I drive everywhere with my job as a medical rep, so if I could fly it would mean I could soar above the traffic.
Check out her interview before the Women’s World Cup 2010 kicked off…
Learn more about Non’s teammates at Wales…