The Waratahs and Wallaby hooker reveals his wacky side
RUGBY WORLD: Do you have any phobias?
TATAFU POLOTA-NAU: I used to be scared of swimming. When I was a kid I was a voluptuous person; I thought I’d float but I was a sinker. I swim now – the technique’s not there but the effort is.
RW: What are your bugbears?
TPN: I don’t like is dishonesty, particularly when it’s not said in front of your face. I’ve no time for that.
RW: Do you have any superstitions?
TPN: I wake up to RESPECT by Aretha Franklin and do a little shuffle. When I was growing up it was one of my favourite songs and I get inspiration from it. I only eat two meals before a game and I sleep for as long as I can. I only think about the game when I get up.
TPN: I’d love to say Taf, but for some reason Adam Freier (the former Wallaby hooker) thought I looked like Divine Brown, the prostitute Hugh Grant was caught with, so he gave me the nickname Divine. From there that’s evolved to Tranny. Before that I got called Shrek (left) or T Dog.
RW: Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?
TPN: So many people to choose from. It’s a dead heat between Diane Lane and Ashley Judd. I’m a bit of a movie buff and as a kid I loved them. If they were in the lift I’d be in there in a jiffy.
RW: If you could have one superpower what would it be?
TPN: To intercept people’s thoughts. That would be a bit of fun – messing with their brains. I’d be able to do stuff before they did because I’d know what they were thinking; I could steal their ideas.
If I went to Microsoft’s head office and Bill Gates was in a meeting, thinking 1,000 clicks a second, I could intercept one of his thoughts and then make my fortune.
RW: What’s the best joke you’ve played?
TPN: I once bought a player a bunch of apples because he kept turning the ball over in a game – apple turnover! Subtle ones always give the best rewards. It’s a relief when they get it.
RW: Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?
TPN: I’d have a comedian, Jimmy Carr – he’s in ahead of Ricky Gervais. I’d also have Kate Beckinsale and I’d get Eric Clapton, from when he was in his prime. He’ll be the entertainment while I serenade Kate, and we’ll all have a laugh with Jimmy.
RW: Do you have any hidden talents?
TPN: I like to play a bit of base guitar every now and then.
RW: What are your guilty pleasures?
TPN: Food is one and drinks are another. I like a really good vintage red wine.
RW: Who’d play you in a film of your life?
TPN: Will.i.am, just because he’s got quite quirky fashion sense. In fact, he’s just generally really quirky.
RW: How’d you like to be remembered?
TPN: I’m not too sure if I want to be remembered at all really. If I were to be remembered, I’d want it to be because I died trying to do something that killed me.
RW: What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?
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TPN: Being a base jumper would be really cool, although I’m not sure my aerodynamics would help. I’d sign up with an insurance company before I did that!
This was published in the December 2013 edition of Rugby World. Click here to see what’s in the current issue.