The Castres forward talks yoga, adrenalin rushes and building blunders

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Downtime with… Canada No 8 Tyler Ardron

How has it been settling in France? 

It’s been good, though the language is a bit tough. I’ve got a bit of a background there, coming from Canada, so I can probably understand enough of what people are saying. I can get myself around but I’m sort of a walking mute half the time!

So far Castres have been awesome, the boys have been good and I have had a lot of help. Of all my moves, it has probably been the easiest.

How do you reflect on your time in New Zealand with the Chiefs? 

It was amazing. Not only for the rugby – which is obviously so well known and has this reputation, rightly so – but now I’ve got what I consider a whole family there.

I was living with them through isolation. I do a lot of hunting and a lot of fishing and I had the tightest group of mates to do that with out there, and none of them were rugby players.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

It became an okay job in the end but the worst working experience I had was the summer before I went to university. I’d worked in lumberyards, I’d done a bit of building, but I ended up getting a job framing houses. I had to put the trim around the doors and windows and on all the floorboards. They had no time so gave me a quick two-minute demo of what I was gonna do. “Now go!”

It wasn’t going well to begin with and then I later learnt I was hitting a ton of water pipes, putting these nails into the wall with the air gun. They had been relatively happy with what

I was doing – I wasn’t exactly good at it but by two weeks in the job I was getting better. And then the water came on and they were not happy at all.

Do you have any phobias? 

I’m not a big fan of snakes. Anything without legs or wings shouldn’t be able to move that fast. They freak me out a bit. But I don’t mind being scared. I’m a bit of an adrenalin junkie so I quite like it sometimes.

Any hobbies that cater for that? 

Well, I need to sell my motorbike in New Zealand, then get one here. That’ll get a bit of adrenalin into ya!

I remember Jeff Hassler did a Rugby World piece about his bike when we were at Ospreys. I was the first person to ride it actually. When he comes to visit we’ll rent him a bike and get out.

Most embarrassing moment on the pitch? 

We were playing Kenya at sevens in Hong Kong. As a bigger sevens player I backed myself to go over the top of a few guys. I tried to go over one of the small Kenyan wingers. He picked me up and chucked me into touch.

Funniest thing you’ve seen? 

I played with a guy who, for the rest of his life, got called ‘Poopy’ because he had a bad stomach day and got hit pretty hard…

Have you been anywhere exotic? 

I do quite a lot of sailing whenever I get the chance. I’ve done that around Thailand and I’ve been to places like Greece and Croatia. I’ve also been to Oman, Petra in Jordan, and Israel.

Who’d be your three dream dinner party guests? 

I’d love to have Barack Obama and chat with him. Eric Lindros was an NHL ice hockey player from back home and he was always my favourite player. And then it would have to be someone dead, like Winston Churchill. That would be interesting.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject? 

Probably rugby but I also studied economics and finance. I still keep up to date with it and I’ll do some of my own trading. So maybe global economics would be the subject. Trading is good when it’s good and it’s bad when it’s bad, but I love the idea of having my own future in my hands.

So what will you do when you retire? 

Economics if I felt I needed to work for a bigger pay cheque. But if I set myself up I’d love my own orchard or even a vineyard. Somewhere where I can work the land and be outside all day.

Do you have any hidden talents? 

I don’t know if it’s a talent but I did my yoga teacher training five years ago now. I’ve taught a decent amount of classes.

A small group of the Chiefs were really dedicated. Lachlan Boshier is very flexible and Sam Cane would always come. Samisoni Taukei’aho was not flexible at all, same as Aidan Ross, but they were dedicated.

And if you could be stuck in a lift with anyone? 

It would have to be Jeff Hassler. He’s been my best friend for years. We lived together for six years and I don’t know how we had new things to talk about every day, but we kept rolling.

This article originally appeared in the October 2020 edition of Rugby World magazine.

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