The World Cup winner on pranks, pervs and Premiership rugby
RUGBY WORLD: Have you got any nicknames?
PIRI WEEPU: My friends have always called me POW. I’m not really sure why, it’s just stuck since I was young.
RW: How have you found the Aviva Premiership so far?
PW: It’s cool. I didn’t really know the standard of the league before I came and it’s been good. Obviously not so much for Welsh, but we can improve.
RW: Who have you been hanging with?
PW: I hang out with a lot of the boys, but I do have lunch or go for coffee with Taione Vea, or I go round his place to have some kava!
RW: Have you got any hidden talents?
PW: Playing guitar? I will pick it up at a party if no one is playing. I play anything and try to make it work.
RW: Do you have any phobias?
PW: Spiders. The other night one landed on my face and I slapped myself! It fell into my bed and I jumped out.
RW: Who’s the biggest joker you know in rugby?
PW: It’s got to be Ma’a Nonu, he is always ‘down-towelling’ people.
RW: Any pranks you can share with us?
PW: Well Ma’a, Andrew Hore and I play a little game – a stupid game – at moments of big pressure. You make a circle with your forefinger and thumb, and if they don’t put a finger through the circle you get to punch them. So they’ll do it to me and I’ll say, “I’m trying to take a kick!” Hore got it at lineouts, as well.
RW: Do you have any bugbears?
PW: Having to repeat myself. That really pisses me off.
RW: Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?
PW: Richard Branson. I would just listen to his story about how to become a billionaire. Just to learn about his drive. Because that’s not normal for most people and it can inspire you.
RW: Embarrassing moments on the pitch?
PW: I’ve been pretty lucky, I haven’t really had any big ones.
RW: Who would play you in a movie?
PW: Someone short! Actually someone has played me in the movie The Kick, about Stephen Donald’s winner at the 2011 World Cup. I went to school with the guy who played me and he contacted me on Facebook. But I’ve tried not to watch the film.
RW: If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
PW: To be able to cure people; to fill people with the ability to always be cured. Others only ever say, “I want to be invisible” so that they can perv!
RW: Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?
PW: Michael Jordan, Wally Lewis and Apirana Ngata. I grew up with Lewis playing league, so he’s an icon. MJ was the greatest basketball player ever and Ngata was the first Maori lawyer and politician, who did so much for Maori rights.
RW: What’s the silliest purchase you’ve ever made?
PW: A rugby ball. Why would I buy a ball when I could just borrow one from training?
RW: What’s your guilty pleasure?
PW: Everyone knows that one. People are always going on about weight issues, so it has to be food. But you know who you are and you ignore it. I just don’t pay any attention to it.
This interview was published in the November 2014 edition of Rugby World. Click here for the latest subscription offers.