CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – Cheers, everybody. This is Mat Turner from England, but currently down here in sunny South Africa. Johnathan Wicklow Barberie (JWB) somehow has me loosely committed to reporting/writing in on RWU, even though I’m not necessarily qualified for either. But then again, neither is he, really.
For those of you that don’t know me, I play for England 7’s and have played for Western Province Age Groups, the mighty Bristol RFC and a few invitational games here and there. I’m from Cape Town and now live in London, but I am back in CT (Cape Town) quite a lot. I’m getting ready for the start of the HSBC IRB Series. The following are questions JWB wants me to answer for RWU:
JWB: Mathew, you’ve represented England well for a good period of time now, wearing the classic white top with the rose and the somewhat psychedelic orange mix we’ve seen at IRB 7s tournaments like the Vegas 7s… Whose idea was it to have England wear black in New Zealand for the World Cup and how many of you expect to come home alive for that choice???
MDT: The only reason I can think why we play in a psychedelic orange top is because our team has quite a few gingers – I think our coach is looking out for his own breed. The orange tops make the gingers feel like normal people for just those brief few minutes, but we all know gingers don’t have souls and thus can’t pass into the afterlife – no offence, I love gingers! [Kind of]…
As for the black jerseys, I personally don’t see the problem, it’s the away top at the end of the day and when New Zealand and England meet in the World Cup, England will be in the traditional White and New Zealand in their Black. I did notice New Zealand have a white collar now. Is that not a touch of England?
JWB: Your teammate, Ben Gollings, the most prolific scorer in 7s history, is 32. Yet, he has an eye on the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 for the inaugural Olympic 7s competition. Do you think he’s got a shot at that or is this just an old geezer babbling?
MDT: I was lucky enough to be Ben’s roommate for the last 3 years, if you look past the white/grey in his beard and the fact that he is nearly 10yrs older than me I could see him still playing then. Just all depends on how his body holds up and if his arthritis doesn’t get any worse, ha ha.
JWB: A follow-up on Gollings… If Ringo Starr and Dustin Hoffman had a son, it would be Ben Gollings. Your thoughts on that?
MDT: I see the resemblance there, I wouldn’t mind my mom/dad – your choice which will be which – being Ringo or Dustin. Life would be so much easier…
MDT: Ha, ha… I think by the time of 2016 most teams will have full time 7s squads. Every year that I ve been involved the lesser teams like the Russia, Spain, Portugal, etc. – oh, and the USA – have gotten better and better. Every team is competitive now. What adds to it, is how short the games are. One mistake can lose you games and even stop you qualifying for the quarter-finals. Our team has seen that first hand this season.
JWB: What’ the biggest difference between international 7s and 15s for you?
MDT: 7s use to be viewed as a stepping stone/ development team for players to go onto bigger things, but that’s not the case now. The game has evolved so much in the last 3 yrs that players now find it hard to come from 15s to 7s; the tempo of the game has increased massively and players are now conditioned to play 7s. They have become more agile and able to do repeated long sprints and recover a lot faster. Now players are going to have to make the choice of whether they want to play 7s or 15s soon. I believe 7s will be bigger than 15s one day.
JWB: Should the World Cup add 7s?
MDT: There is already a somehow managed to win the last one. It was held in Dubai in 2009.
JWB: Should the Olympics add 15s?
JWB: Which of your 7s teammates is the worst dancer? This is a tough one because, frankly, you Brits are dance-challenged genetically.World Cup 7s, Wales
MDT: That’s where ur wrong! You regularly see our boys – more the backs than the forwards – busting out some serious moves. I d say our top three dancers are:
1) Dan Caprice
2) Marcus Watson
3) Dan Norton
They have either got African or Jamaican roots, which seems to help. I myself avoid the dance floor as much as possible, my excuse is I like socializing. To answer the question, worst dancer without a doubt is James Rodwell (ginger), who seems to always blame his shoes.
MDT: Anything that I was good at! Ha, ha.. Seriously, a good contest would be for fans to enter a video of how far they would go or the most wild thing they would do to go to a tournament of their choice. I think you would get some interesting videos. Personally, I would love to see the social side of a tournament weekend. That’s one thing I will do when I hang my boots up – to go to a tournament and get involved with the festivities that happen around the tournament.
JWB: Well, that was fun and informative. Thank you, Mathew. Make sure you check out the videos. Interviews with Michael Jones, Todd Clever, Todd Blackadder, Terry Wright, Aaron Carpenter and John Kirwan.
MDT: My pleasure, Johnathan. Will do. You can burn those pictures now.