Scarlets and Wales fly-half Rhys Patchell talks funny men, phobias and his first job

Downtime with Scarlets and Wales fly-half Rhys Patchell

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

It’ll be something to do with Lou Reed. He’s genuinely the funniest bloke I’ve come across in my life. It’s probably him beeping while a scrum he was in went backwards – he’d do the reversing sound of heavy goods vehicles. I heard it when I was on the flank after a yellow card. I’m probably as bad as Jonny May at scrummaging!

Any practical jokes you can share?

I can’t think of any at the Scarlets. At the Blues, Dan Fish would lace people’s boots the wrong way, so you’d end up being the last guy out on the field.

Do you have any superstitions?

I listen to the same playlist before a game, but that’s because I’m lazy. I try to keep it chilled. The last song I listen to is Grits’ My Life Be Like (Ooh-Aah).

My father’s also noticed that I always follow out a second-row. Actually that’s my funniest Lou Reed story. I was making my Heineken Cup debut at 19 for the Blues against Montpellier at the Arms Park – I was definitely a boy in a man’s world. I was running out behind Lou and he looks to the left where Montpellier are and says, “Look at the size of No 5 – he’s massive!”

I’m thinking, ‘I’m in deep. What am I doing on the field if the biggest bloke on my team is scared of the biggest bloke on theirs’! We went okay all things considered.

Scarlets and Wales fly-half Rhys Patchell

Tune in: Rhys Patchell listening to music pre-game (Getty Images)

What are your bugbears?

Bad manners – people who don’t say please and thank you – and inconsiderate parking. There’s no off-road parking where I live.

Your most embarrassing moment?

There are two. One is from school, when I was 12 or 13. We’d get changed at lunchtime to save time later, so I’d put my socks and jersey on, and put my Lycra shorts on under my trousers. My mum gave me a lift to the game, I took my trousers off and we were just about to kick off when I realised I’d not put my shorts on. My mum had left so I had to get my PE teacher to ring her to come back with my shorts, but I had to play the first half in just my under shorts, which wasn’t ideal. I was mortified.

The other one was in a pre-season friendly between Blues and Sale, I needed the toilet ten minutes into the second half and told the physio I needed to go off – I was clenching and a big hit would have been dangerous. They took me off and I was so desperate I didn’t run down the tunnel, I jumped the fence and went to one of the public toilets.

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

Flying. Well, not in the air but to be where I wanted to be now (teleporting). Think how much more efficient life would be. You’d never be late.

Do you have any phobias?

I wouldn’t be a fan of snakes and creepy-crawlies.

Scarlets and Wales fly-half Rhys Patchell

World figure: Former President Barack Obama walks by a portrait of himself (Getty Images)

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

Barack Obama would have stories to tell. He seems a nice guy. I’m not a big follower of politics – although I listen to Radio 4 on the way to work so I’m across what’s happening in the world – but it’d be good to get his take on things.

What are your nicknames?

It tends to be Patch. At school that’s what my brother got and it stuck with me too.

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

It would be a toss-up between John Barclay and Hadleigh Parkes. They’ve just got it sussed. I look at them and those boys never look stressed, they know when to switch on and off. They have it nailed as far as I’m concerned.

Your dream dinner party guests?

On the basis I’d like to be stuck in a lift with him, Obama. Actually, scrap that. I’d just like my mates from school because I know they’d be good craic.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can’t read music but I can play the piano. I can play I Dreamed A Dream from Les Mis, some Elton John and Coldplay, and I’m teaching myself REM. If I’m making a cup of tea, I’ll sit down at my piano while the kettle boils.

Scarlets and Wales fly-half Rhys Patchell

Red alert: Rhys Patchell takes on Jonathan Joseph during the Six Nations (Getty Images)

What was your first job?

One summer while I was in school I shredded documents in my dad’s office. He’s a solicitor and I must have been the smartest shredder in Blackwood because I had to wear a shirt and tie.

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

To find something I’m as enthusiastic about as I am about playing rugby. You devote so much time and energy to being a professional player, everything falls by the wayside. It’s difficult to find something you’re as passionate about.

What about coaching? You coach kids.

I think that would be the most stressful thing in the world. It’s a job based on the ability of 23 people to understand and do what you want them to do, and every week that changes. So not coaching!

This article originally appearing in the June 2018 edition of Rugby World magazine. Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.