Adam Kleeberger plays a rugged and active loose forward for Team Canada.
VANCOUVER, CANADA –
JWB: Bonjour. Preferez-vous que je ecrit en Francais ou Anglais?
AK: Francais, si vous plait.
JWB: Bon. English it is.
JWB: You’re from British Columbia. How is it that an area on the western coast of Canada – in North America – is named after a little group of islands in Europe and a South American vacation destination with great beaches and beautiful women?
AK: Not much into geography or history… However, I suppose British is a result of Canada being a British colony, and Columbia is a credit to Christopher Columbus. Seems the British didn’t have much imagination when it came to naming their conquests.
JWB: If you had the opportunity to rename the region, what would it be?
AK: I think Paradise sums it up pretty well.
JWB: If Quebec finally votes to secede from Canada, will you let them? Will tanks be brought to the borders of the Province?
AK: Quebec already has its own special identity within Canada. It would be a shame for Canada as a nation to lose that. I don’t think tanks would be necessary… we don’t have any if they were!
JWB: Three words: Why is Canadian beer so much better than American beer?
AK: Higher alcohol content.
JWB: As a dual citizen of Ireland, I’m called a mick – as well as a Kiwi- all the time. Apparently it’s supposed to be offensive but couldn’t give a shamrock about it. For once and for all, is the term “Canuck” a derogatory term or not? After all, the Western Conference representatives in the Stanley Cup Finals were the Vancouver… Canucks.
AK: I’ve never deemed it derogatory. Definitely been called worse things.
JWB: Speaking of hockey, you guys have had two impressive victories over Team USA in the past couple of weeks. Are the beards the reason and do you all realize it’s the Rugby World Cup and not Lord Stanley’s that you’re chasing???
AK: The beard gets neither credit nor blame. I didn’t have a reason for starting it, but once it got going I decided I would do it right in honor of all those who didn’t have the ability – many of whom you could have seen during the NHL playoffs.
JWB: You got double minor against the Eagles. Was it a high stick or a cross-check?
AK: I think [James] Cudmore was sent off for being too strong, and Chauncey for being too quick. Either way our Penalty Kill was outstanding.
JWB: If we’re playing against each other, is it legal for me to tackle you by the beard – like is there a rule stating if your beard is below your neck, it’s fair game?
AK: If your tackling style is up to beard-height, you might need to review some tackling techniques at training. Besides only girls pull hair.
JWB: Have you found any bird’s eggs in your beard?
AK: No birds eggs, have to be cautious with anything that has sauce on it though!
JWB: If you guys suddenly had to play a game of ice hockey to qualify – humor me here – and you were the player coach: Where on the ice would you and the following – including goalie – play: fellow mick Pat Riordan, Aaron Carpenter, Jebb Sinclair, Jason Marshall and Chauncey O’Toole?
AK: Your leaving me short one player so I’ll improvise. Pat goes in goal (great reaction speed), “Stick” Carps and Marshall on “D” – hope both can skate backwards – Chauncey left wing (still holding onto the dream of making “The Show”), Jebb on right wing (get him screening in-front of the net) and for center I’ll say Phil MacKenzie (just a hunch).
JWB: You’ve been fortunate enough to have played professionally with the Rotherham Titans in Yorkshire, England and also played a bit down in Auckland. Describe the difference between playing in places like that as opposed to North America, which is just now catching up with rugby.
AK: I think the only real difference between those places and North America are the number of quality players with whom you compete against. I believe competition breed’s success and having not only to be better than the person you are playing against, but also better than those teammates who play the same position creates the best players.
JWB: What are your predictions for Canada in the RWC?
AK: We have our goals as a team. I won’t make any predictions, but we expect to leave the tournament without any regrets.
JWB: What about your North American neighbors, Team USA?
AK: They seem to have the ability to rise to the big challenges and produce when it counts, I wish them all the best.
JWB: Does Canada have a National Cricket Team?
AK: We do, but that is everything I know about them.
JWB: Your favorite CFL team?
AK: BC Lions, gotta support the hometown.
JWB: What is your outside center’s full name, please?
AK: Daniel Tailliferre Hauman Van der Mewre… I think.
JWB: Thank you, Adam. We’ll see you in New Zealand. Bon chance.
AK: My pleasure… Adios.
*Thanks to all our rugby friends for their generosity in allowing photo usage, espcially Doug Crosse, The Canadian Press & José Romelo Lagman.
This Aaron Carpenter interview was with our partners, MeetTheMatts.com, before we started RWU in February.