Italy prop Martin Castrogiovanni talks snakes, superpowers and Sarto

Who are the jokers in the Italy squad?

Obviously, me!

Are there any practical jokes you can share?

There are so many jokes, but I can’t comment about them. I’ll tell you just one thing: Fabio Ongaro was our favourite target.

Do you have any superstitions?

I walk and don’t run, and I always enter the field on my left foot. I’ve just always done it.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on the pitch?

During a 2003 World Cup match, I unwittingly ripped a dreadlock from Colin Charvis, an icon of Welsh rugby and not just because of his trademark curly hair. A lot of Welsh players pulled my hair in the next Six Nations. I discovered at the end of the match that Colin had put a hit out on my hair – £100 for one of my plaits!

What’s your guilty pleasure?

My PlayStation – playing video games is great. And trading cards, like NBA and football players.

Who would play you in a film of your life?

Zach Galifianakis – or more specifically Alan from The Hangover.

Who’s your funniest team-mate?

Leonardo Sarto – he is so stupid!

Leonardo Sarto

Fly over: Romania’s Valentin Calafeteanu leaps over Leonardo Sarto during RWC 2015. Photo: Getty Images

What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever bought?

Unfortunately, a lot of things. I bought an expensive conjuring tricks kit during a trip to the US with Gonzalo Canale. If you look, you’ll see it’s never been opened.

What annoys you?

Trolls – the lions behind a keyboard.

Do you have any phobias?

Snakes and sharks. And 50-year-old mothers who accompany their kids to the Castro Academy, my rugby camp.

Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?

MacGyver. He’d get us out of any situation. If anyone can get you out of a stuck elevator it would be him! I’d just want to get out of there because it would be hot and stuffy.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

A superpower… I would use it to help all children around the world. And to read people’s minds and know who is fake.

Which one of your team-mates would you want to be?

None. I’m the most beautiful man in the world!

What has been your most embarrassing moment?

I cannot tell you those things. I was treated like a criminal when I gave my opinion.

Who would be your three dream dinner-party guests?

Dan Bilzerian (wealthy playboy), Papa Francesco (the Pope) and Diego Maradona. All for different reasons.

Diego Maradona

Pumas passion: Diego Maradona supports Argentina at the World Cup. Photo: Getty Images

How would you like to be remembered?

Just as a good and honest guy who put his heart into it every time he pulled on a rugby jersey. I left my family and my mates in Argentina when I was 20. It was a big change for me, but I wanted to follow my dream and play rugby. Now when I play, I do so for the honour of my family back home, for my mother and father. I try to be the best I can, so they can say, “This is my son”, and feel proud about it.

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

I would like to be known as someone who would do anything for the kids.

This article appeared in the October 2015 edition of Rugby World. For the latest subscription offers click here, or find out how to download the digital edition here.