JWB: First off, congrats. Repeating in Dubai was huge for you guys and exciting for us to watch. It was doubly exciting watching you star for your team in the Finals and the games leading up to it. Because you’ve been flying and in meetings, we figured we’d help you out this week and put you back in the interviewee’s chair. Ready?
MDT: Ah, thanks guys. Things have been hectic these last few days with all the flying.
JWB: Aside for being a huge win for England Sevens, it’s a nice, positive story for England Rugby. Do you think this will take some of the pressure off the 15s squad, or is the chap on the street still out for the same amount of blood?
MDT: I think any positive media about England Rugby at the moment will help out the whole situation. This will defiantly help the Sevens within England Rugby.
JWB: How does Ben Ryan keep you guys out of the tabloids, while Martin Johnson pretty much put his boys in the papers?
MDT: Banjo doesn’t really stop us from doing much. The whole team is humble and know that we’re away on ‘Business’ and we all know how to act when abroad.
JWB: Can we at least get you to get caught streaking with a Rugby Wrap Up cape on? Any publicity is good publicity and lord knows, we need it.
MDT: Ha, ha… If you supply the cape and a decent escape route, count me in!
JWB: Okay, now for rugby questions. You won in Dubai with you as the… Drum Roll… scrum-half! You are normally a wing. In gridiron terms, that’s like coming on from wide receiver to play QB.
1) What was that transition like?
MDT: The transition wasn’t bad at all, I practise pretty much the whole week as scrum-half. There’s not much difference really, you just stand in a different position on first phase. With this, I have now officially played every position in the backline.
2) Other scrum-halfs are going to be livid! You sound like the skinny girl telling the fat girls about how she eats everything and can’t gain weight! How much scrum-half have you played in the past and when was the last time?
MDT: Ha, ha… I take it back… Haven’t had much time there, really. Played scrummy a few times here and there but never in an HSBC IRB Series before. It might now be my favourite position.
3) Who’s idea was it? Did you approach Coach Ryan or did he come to you?
MDT: Well, the what happened was that John Brake hurt his hand last week, which ment either Marcus Watson or myself would have to move to scrummy. So I guess you can say it was Ben’s idea cause at the end of the day, he selects the team.
4) Broken Brakes are never good. Do you miss the wing after scoring 43 trys at scrum-half in Dubai?
MDT: No, I don’t miss the wing at all! And 43 is a bit high… As my sevens career has gone on I’ve slowly been moved in along the backline. Some say its age. I have been called 36 before (she’s dead now).
5) But now you can’t blame the scrum-half if you don’t get the ball. How will you handle a Dan Norton when he starts giving you grief about not getting him the ball?
MDT: I’ll handle Shnorton the way I normally do; I’ll wrestle him to the ground then get him into the sleeper hold.
JWB: How surprised was the Fijian (what’s his name?) that you ran down from 1,000,000 meters to make a pivotal, potentially game-saving tackle? Did you know you were going to catch him? He was at a pretty good pace himself.
MDT: I actually can’t remember his name. All I did was put my head down and run. It all happened so fast! I never thought I wouldn’t catch him, but there was always that chance of me not. (ha ha)
JWB: We held our breath when you started limping and came off the pitch. Was it that play that you got hurt and what was the injury?
MDT: It’s the same injury from last week. Got a bit of a funny calf – I don’t know the correct medical term for it – but a little Man Pill goes along way. Something Dan Norton doesn’t have a clue about. The Man part…
JWB: Last week you promised that your squad would improve significantly and perform much better. You were right. What was it that you saw that A) Made you say that? and B) What’s your prediction for the next round?
MDT: A) I knew we had it in ourselves to improve our performance from the previous weekend. It was small things that lost us games but this week we corrected them in training and everything fell into place. B) As we’ve all seen, any team can win any game these days. The series is going to be very open this year. My Top 4 this weekend is probably, South Africa, Fiji, New Zealand and England. England for the win of course.
JWB: How is the banter different in the scrum than it is in the backline? Anything strike you as odd or noteworthy? Being that close to Rodwell, Barden and Cracknell must lend your ears to “interesting” tidbits.
MDT: To be honest, there’s not much banter in the forwards during games. They are the serious ones who do all the hard work in order for the better-looking players out wide to do their magic. On a serious note, though, our forwards were unbeatable this weekend!
JWB: Do you guys give anyone the Silent Treatment when they score? It’s funny when done right to the right player.
MDT: I like that idea! I know exactly who I’m going to try set that up with. Simon Hunt will now get the Silent Treatment when he scores.
RWU: Excellent. Maybe it’s a Rugby Wrap Up sponsored Silent Treatment bit… Yet I digress. How about the off-the-pitch stuff? Do rookies or new members get hazed or initiated? You know, some kind of welcome-to-the-squad ritual? Towel-snapping? Sword-crossing?
MDT: Initiation unfortunately doesn’t happen in the squad, even though I think it should. Being away for 4 weeks with Dan Norton and Nick Royle is torture, so in away that is initiation.
JWB: That’s funny. A 4-week haze… Major League Baseball teams have a ritual in which the rookies have their clothes hidden on the road and are left with ridiculous outfits that they have to fly in – like chickens or women or figure skaters.
MDT: Yeah, that’s baseball for you; a bunch of figure-skating chickens wanting to be women.
JWB: I just spit hazelnut latte on my keypad! That was arguably the best answer to any question in any interview I’ve ever heard.
MDT: Thank you!
JWB: Who had the most embarrassing moment in Dubai and what was it?
MDT: Bill Weeley or Will Beeley our team manager was pretty embarrassing. He has been renamed The Pest. I wont go into further detail.
JWB: Last question. What was the Cup Party like? Do you guys go big or is it just another day at the office?
MDT: We all went for a calm and chilled meal with a beverage of our choice, no huge party at all. We’ll probably have a party this weekend after we win again ( confident). By then we will all need to let go of some steam.
confident) By then we will all need to let go of some steam.
JWB: Did you meet any cute… guys? Okay, that’s the last question.
MDT: I didn’t come across any cute guys for you JWB, but keep on searching those online dating sites and I’m sure one will find you. P.s… Stop using a picture of me as you profile picture.
JWB: Thank you, Mathew. See you next week.
MDT: Thanks guys, next week I will be back in full force!