An off-the-wall chat with Italy and Zebre fly-half Kelly Haimona

What are your bugbears?
Nothing much really p***es me off. I’m pretty laid-back, so I really wouldn’t know. But I’m no pushover – I’m only a pushover at home with the wife!

What are your guilty pleasures?
I have a few – lollies and chocolate are up there – but the big one is KFC. My go-to is the three-piece Ultimate Meal. But there aren’t really any KFCs in Italy, so I’ll take any chance to get one. When I’m back in New Zealand it’s one of the first things I do.

Who’s the biggest joker you know?
It has to be Leonardo Sarto. He’s very cheeky, but in a good way. Everyone gets it, but not the coaches – we leave them alone!

Any practical jokes you can share?
There aren’t any pranks that come to mind but, wait, there is this joke… a Maori walks into a bar… Actually, I don’t think I can tell that!

Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?
I’d like to be stuck with either Michael Jordan or Muhammad Ali and the ghost of Michael Jackson. That would be good for a yarn.

Michael Jordan

Inspired conversation: Michael Jordan would probably have some stories to tell. Photo: Getty Images

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?
I saw a streaker once! Playing club rugby when I was in Rotorua, a streaker came on just as the opposition made a break. The streaker almost got to the end of the field as a spectator let their dog loose. It eventually caught him.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
To fly. I would fly back to NZ… maybe for a KFC!

If you could be any of your team-mates, who would it be?
I’d be Dion Berryman. He’s the fastest in the Zebre squad and I’d like to know what it’s like to be quick.

Do you mind everyone talking about how big you are?
Na, I’ve had it my whole life. But my wife was telling me she was watching the Italy game against England, when I did some good footwork and one of the commentators said: “Who cares how big he is when he can move like that.” My wife really liked that.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?
When I was 12 or 13 I lost the ball just as I was about to score. I learnt my lesson that day in club rugby – always use two hands!

Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?
Optimus Prime, Megatron and Superman. You wouldn’t have to feed the Transformers because, well, they’re robots, and then I’d cook Superman a steak. I don’t really cook too often at home but I’d do it for Superman.


Table for two? Transformers Optimus Prime and Megatron might start a food fight

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
I would like to be known as someone who would do anything for the unfortunate people back home in New Zealand. I want to do anything to look after the kids who don’t have a wealthy family or who have not had any of the opportunities I was lucky enough to have.

How did you find the Six Nations?
The Six Nations is hard, man. It’s one of the hardest rugby competitions I’ve played in so far in my career. But it’s enjoyable. Hopefully I make the World Cup squad.