Former Wales and Lions scrum-half Mike Phillips talks pranks, Paris and party guests

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

I wasn’t there but this is one that I’ve heard. During a Boxing Day game, there was a scrum and Lou Reed said, “Hands up who had turkey yesterday!”

Who are the jokers at Racing 92?

Juan Imhoff is number one. He does impersonations of the coaches and players, and he’s very funny.

Can you tell us about any practical jokes?

Last year someone wrecked Dimitri’s (Szarzewski) bedroom. He spent ages trying to get to the bottom of that one and eventually got someone to own up – I think it was Antonie Claassen. So Dimitri went round to his house and let some live chickens in!

Do you have any phobias?

Any sort of reptile. I’d s*** myself.

What about bugbears?

People who are rude.

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Angelina Jolie. Or Demi Moore – but Demi Moore from Indecent Proposal, not Demi Moore now.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

Someone bounced me for the first time in my 13-year career when we beat Northampton in the Champions Cup. I’ve been doing it to other people for 13 years! The boys have probably been laughing about it.

Mike Phillips

In the thick of it: Phillips in action for Racing 92 against Northampton this season. Photo: Getty Images

What are the best and worst things about living in Paris?

I’m sitting now having dinner next to the Eiffel Tower, so that’s the best thing. Paris at night is awesome. The worst is the traffic.

It’s great to experience different cultures, not just in France but being surrounded by players of different cultures – New Zealanders, Fijians…

If you could be any team-mate, who would it be?

Maybe Joe Rokocoko, because he’s really fast.

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

To start a family.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?

Eighties and Nineties films. I’m still a big film fan.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I play pool left-handed.

Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?

Who would I pick? JFK, so I could find out about all the secrets and conspiracy theories – the aliens etc. Anthony Hopkins – he’s a legend. And George Best.

George Best

Sporting hero: Football legend George Best has a big fan in Phillips. Photo: Getty Images

Who’d play you in a film of your life?

Colin Farrell looks a bit like me.

What’s next for you?

We’ll see what comes through the door and take it from there. I’ve definitely got another two years of playing in me. I feel very competitive, I’m pleased with the way I’ve been playing and I still think that I can make a difference.

Will you pursue a modelling career?

I don’t think so. I’ll try my hand at a few things to see what I like and don’t like. I think presenting would be pretty cool or maybe a bit of coaching – but nothing serious. Maybe at youth level.

What superpower would you like to have?

To fly, like Superman. That would be pretty cool for a first date.

Where’s the best place you’ve been?

I like New York – it’s very cool. I like the vibe.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a very, very good rugby player.

This article appeared in the February 2016 edition of Rugby World. For the latest subscription offers click here, or find out how to download the digital edition here.