The Scotland loosehead talks fishy pranks, house fires and shocking the Queen

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Downtime with… Scotland prop Gordon Reid

You rescued someone from a house fire recently. What happened?!

I was out the back of our house, putting stuff in the tumble dryer and I could smell this smoke. I thought it was my tumble dryer, so I was gutted. I thought I’d have to pay £300 for a new one and I’d only just bought it. I was raging.

But I looked up and it was actually the next-door neighbour’s house that was on fire. There was smoke and flames coming from the back door and back-door window. So I went over there with a big bucket of water to try to put the flames out, which didn’t work at all.

I went inside the house, saw a guy struggling to stand up and grabbed him and pulled him out. I got the missus to phone an ambulance. I asked if there was anyone else inside, I didn’t know if there were kids and I didn’t know the guy. He said “yes” so I kicked the front door. The smoke was horrific and I was stumbling around in the dark.

What did you do next?

I went back out to get some fresh air and then went to go back in again, when I saw him running down the street with two bags. I went back in but didn’t see anybody. The fire brigade come and they were shouting, “Gordy, how you doing?!” They went in and checked – fortunately no else one was in there.

So who’s your funniest team-mate ever?

Rob Harley. He always comes in with witty comments. He’s the smartest guy you’ll ever meet – he’s like Sheldon out of The Big Bang Theory. He’s so clever but funny too, and he’s ginger!

Any pranks you can share?

Back in the day Kevin Bryce tipped my bag out at training, so to get him back I bought two big salmon, stuck one in his car’s glove compartment and another under his seat. He found one and thought that was the smell gone, but it was still there. He couldn’t find the other one! I’ve also locked Pat MacArthur out on the balcony when we’ve stayed in a hotel a few times.

Most embarrassing thing to happen to you on the pitch?

Against Moray Low I got folded like a penknife one scrum, and old Ayr lock Skippy Kelly was pushing behind me. As he pushed, let’s just say it rearranged my anatomy a bit!

Do you have any nicknames?

Goon because back in the day I used to like a bit of a scrap – it came from the movie Goon about ice hockey enforcers. Well, I say that. Moray Low also says it’s from The Goonies!

We heard you had a hook-up for Irn Bru at the World Cup in Japan?

Yeah, one of the fans actually brought some over. They knew that I was craving Irn Bru and I think WP Nel made some phone calls and one of the guys brought some over on first class. He brought me 12 bottles – I was delighted!

If you could have one superpower what would it be?

Time travel. I’d go back in time to correct all my wrongs… and then I’d put a couple of bets on!

Do you have any superstitions?

I always put new 21mm studs in for Internationals. I go left to right, in a clockwise circle, for each boot. And I can’t put them down. So I’ll take all the studs out one boot that way, sit it on my knees. Do the other, sit it on my knees. Then pick up the first boot and put the new studs in, put it down, get the other one, studs in. Then tighten one, put it down, tighten the other one.

What about guilty pleasures?

Fizzy juice. But my teeth are alright, I get them checked quite a lot. Touch wood, no problems.

Your three dream dinner-party guests?

The Rock because he is just cool. I’d also want a ruder comedian like Frankie Boyle and then the Queen because I’d love to see her face with what me and Frankie Boyle are doing at the dinner.

The Rock

Cool: Film star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (Getty Images)

Any bugbears?

There’s nothing worse than people not knowing lineout calls. I hate people telling me what to do, too.

What’s the worst job you’ve had?

I’ve not got much flexibility in my ankle after a break, but I was doing roofing and lasted an hour. There’s a certain way you’re meant to walk on tiles going up the roof, but because of my ankle I was breaking a tile with my right foot every step. I broke as many as I put down.

What’s your silliest purchase?

I bought an old-fashioned vibrating stand, you go on and put a belt around your stomach. It’s
a weight-loss thing that jiggles you up and down. It was something unique.

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

I just want to be able to do a job that I love as much as rugby.

This article originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of Rugby World magazine.

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