2O Questions: Andy Hazell – Gloucester and England flanker

Andy HazellBeen anywhere nice on holiday?
I went to Portugal with the wife and kids, which was nice and quiet. Then I went to Ibiza for Olly Morgan’s stag do, which wasn’t! Nothing too wild though.
Is Olly nervous about the wedding?
He’s more nervous about more of his hair falling out before the photos are taken!
You spent a lot of time injured last season… fit again now?
I’m feeling good. Last season was the worst I’ve had. I’m miserable when I can’t play. But I’m more or less 100 per cent fit and ready for a fresh start.
You’re 34… ever think of packing up?
I’m feeling too good for that. If there’s ever a time when my mind’s not right I’ll call it a day, but I’m still pushing the young lads hard in training
Still have that burning desire to win big prizes?
I’d love to win the Premiership or Heineken Cup. I haven’t got that long left, but I’ll be giving it my best shot with Gloucester.
Does losing the 2003 Premiership final to Wasps still rankle?
It’s up there with my worst memories. It’s a long time ago and back then you thought it was just normal to reach finals, but you’ve got to seize those chances.
Who’s the biggest joker in the camp?
I love to wind-up the boys and the latest craze is setting up fake Twitter accounts. One of the boys set up a Rupert Harden account and if fans were to go on it they’d think he was an absolute big head. He’s sussed it now though.
Cleverest player?
Hate to say it, but Nick Wood. He loves to pick up on spelling mistakes and loves quizzes and all that. He’s a bit of a nause!
Tightest player?
Pete Buxton, every time. Mind you, Charlie Sharples is showing his mettle there as well. We go into Costa and he’ll come in for a chat but won’t buy a coffee because he’s got an espresso machine at home.
Worst dressed?
Will James. His missus dresses him and he keeps turning up in these deep-V,  pastel-shaded T-shirts. Maybe he wants to show off his sun tan!
Favourite food and drink?
I love Sushi and could eat it all day. Drinks-wise, it’s Guinness or a diet Coke.
Guilty pleasure?
Indian, Chinese and pizza. I love naan bread, eat loads of it.
You’ve got a snazzy home cinema, haven’t you?
Yes, it’s my little luxury. I’ve got a three-metre screen with 3D and the works. You get in that room and you don’t want to come out. I’m setting up a home entertainment company for when I retire.
Hear the younger boys like to pop round?
Jonny May, Henry Trinder and Sharples say they’d like to move in because of the cinema, but they’ve no chance. They knock on the door asking if they can watch a film but I scurry them off pretty quickly!
Best moment in rugby?
My first Gloucester contract. I was 18 and had resigned myself to roofing for my uncle and playing for Gloucester Old Boys, but I got a chance in a United game and six months later signed a contract. That and winning my first England cap.
Person in rugby you most admire?
Jonny Wilkinson’s the ultimate pro. I look after myself but he’s taken it to the next level.
Team-mate you’re a little afraid of?
Philippe St Andre brought a guy called Serge Simon to Gloucester and he was the nicest bloke you could meet. But at his first ruck he had two fingers in Doddie Weir’s eyes, then in another game he tried to break a bloke’s arm. You’re thinking, ‘Who is this guy?’
Superstitions?
Whenever I get injured I throw everything I’ve been wearing away… boots, skull cap, the lot.
What do you hate about rugby?
Fickleness. You win one week and you’re brilliant, but lose the next and you’re rubbish. Losing is frustrating for fans, but fickleness is very annoying.
Best thing?
The camaraderie of playing for Gloucester. If you’ve beaten a big team the feeling afterwards is as good as it gets.

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