Ruaridh Jackson talks musical medleys, moustaches and making gin in this offbeat Q&A

Downtime with… Glasgow and Scotland full-back Ruaridh Jackson

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

Gordy Reid getting flattened by Pete Horne, who was taking a clearance kick and absolutely scudded it.

Do you have any phobias?

I don’t love heights but I’ve got no weird phobias. I know someone who does – Tommy Seymour is afraid of chickens.

What’s the best gift you’ve received?

One of my most memorable was waking up at Christmas to find a bike under the tree. I was about six and I remember cycling it around the house, which was not what my mum had imagined!

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

Ryan Reynolds. He seems a great guy, entertaining, funny, I love his movies. And he owns a gin company; I’m in the drinks business myself so it would be interesting to talk to him about that.

 Ryan Reynolds

Entertaining: Actor Ryan Reynolds at the Deadpool 2 premiere (Getty Images)

If your house was on fire, what one object would you save?

My best whisky. If I’ve got it all in one box, does that count as one object?

What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind?

Sport. Or if I had to be more specific, Glasgow Warriors squads 2008 to 2019.

What really annoys you?

People leaving mess behind. A lot of youngsters these days – this is me getting old and grumpy – leave bottles or dirty plates about. I hate litter dropping as well, like people throwing stuff out of a car window. I shouted at a kid the other day.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

When I signed for Harlequins and I still hadn’t had a kick, in my second game we scored under the posts and I thought, ‘Yes! I’m going to get my first points for the club’. Then my conversion got charged down! It was at home to Stade Français. Thankfully we pumped them but I got a bit of stick about it in the changing rooms.

If you could be one of your team-mates, who would you be?

Stuart Hogg. I’d quite like his monthly pay packet.

Related: Downtime with Stuart Hogg

Do you have any superstitions?

Not now. When I was younger I sat on the left side of the bus, put my kit on in a certain order. But I’ve ditched all my superstitions and it makes me more relaxed for games.

Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?

David Attenborough. He’s an out-and-out legend and he’d have some good stories. Hugh Jackman as I’d love him to sing me the Greatest Showman soundtrack live. That would be cool. I’m going to go see him in Glasgow; he’s doing a medley of his musicals. And Freddie Mercury. I saw Bohemian Rhapsody recently and he’d be quite a character at the dinner table.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

When I was finishing school (Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen), one of my coaches there wrote in my yearbook, “Remember, it’s always on”, a reference to back your instincts. Even if you’re behind your posts, if you think there’s an opportunity to have a go, back yourself.

What was your first paid job?

Mowing the lawn when I got 50p.

Seen a moustache to beat your own ‘Three Musketeers’ one for Movember?

No! A few of the rugby boys have given it a good crack, and I’ve seen some great ones in public that I’m envious of. In November I did a charity cash raise and I dyed my moustache pink after a guy generously donated £500.

Glasgow and Scotland full-back Ruaridh Jackson

Growth spurt: Ruaridh Jackson with his impressive moustache last November (Getty Images )

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Not sure if it’s a guilty pleasure but after a match, whisky is my tipple of choice.

So why did you start a gin business, Garden Shed, instead of whisky?

Speed and easiness. Gin is one of the quickest processes. When we started, we were making it in the garden, myself and Ryan Grant. But when we wanted to start selling it, HMRC weren’t thrilled with us doing it in a shed. So we contacted Eden Mill, who sponsor the rugby, and the contract is with them.

Have you got hidden talents?

I’m a great dancer! And I played cricket for Scotland U17. I had to choose between cricket and rugby at 18 and thankfully I chose rugby. When I throw a cricket ball or a tennis ball, my shoulder feels like it’s going to rip out so I don’t think I’d be much use in the field.

Any future goals you want to achieve?

I’d love my gin company to have long-term success and be what I do post-rugby. In terms of rugby, win the Pro14 with Glasgow. Before I left for a few years, my last game was in the final we lost to Leinster. The year after, the boys won it so I’d love to get a winner’s medal instead of just a runners-up.

This article originally appeared in the May 2019 edition of Rugby World magazine.

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