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20 Questions: Dave Ward – Harlequins hooker

Dave WardIs this your best season?

Think so. I played some pretty good stuff at Cornish Pirates but playing regularly for Quins has been great. Getting a Saxons chance was icing on the cake.

Ambitions beyond the Saxons?

Every player has and I was honoured to get that opportunity with the Saxons. But I’m concentrating on Quins and there’s massive competition here.

Where did you start out?

Bath. I went from the U6s through to their first team. Then I made a few moves to Northampton, Sale and Pirates.

Why did you leave Bath?

I was fourth choice at the Rec, so competing with Dylan Hartley to start for Northampton looked a good move. But it was the worst decision of my career.

Three good years at Pirates?

Terrific. I had a choice between them and Pertemps Bees, so I was lucky to choose Pirates at a time when Chris Stirling, Ian Davies and Harvey Biljon went there, all  were great coaches.

Rugby heroes growing up?

Neil Back, because I used to play 7 and was told I was too small. When I switched to hooker Keith Wood stood out, but in the back garden I was always Jonah Lomu!

Best moment in rugby?

My debut for Bath against Leinster in 2005. It was my childhood dream so to see my shirt with ‘Ward’ on the back was amazing.

Other sports as a kid?

Football. My dad’s from Derby and played for Derby Boys, so I’m a huge Derby County fan as well. Still follow them closely and hope they go up.

If not rugby, what would your dream job be?

An antiques dealer. I’m a bit of a Lovejoy at heart. But I’d probably be in business or sales, which run in the family.

Like collecting antiques then?

I enjoy buying bits and pieces at car boot sales. Original furniture, too. I’d much rather restore something myself than get stuff from IKEA.

How else do you chill?

My biggest thing is being head coach, along with Tom Williams, at Guildford. We’re top of our league and in the National Cup semis.

What’s your coaching philosophy?

To play with a lot of flair and enjoy it. If it’s 30/70, go for it! I really enjoy it and it’s probably what I’ll end up doing.

Any other hobbies?

I’m into sports books, mainly to find out about coaching techniques. And I used to play the violin and piano when I was young, so I’m into classical music.

Classical’s a bit different?

It was my mum’s influence. I’d have violin and piano practice, then go and play rugby. You’re more likely to see me at the theatre, opera or ballet than a gig.

If you could invite three special dinner guests?

The Duke of Wellington, because I love my history; Ian McShane, because I’m a massive fan of Lovejoy; and Jim Ward, my late granddad, who died when my dad was 17. I’m sure he’d have loved watching me play rugby.

Pet hates and annoyances?

Incompetent staff in restaurants, specifically Nando’s; traffic wardens in Guildford; and people who are late and don’t apologise.

Rituals and superstitions?

I put my right sock on first and have to touch the ground before each half. Oh,  and my dad has to drive me to home matches.

If you could be another sportsman?

Usain Bolt. To be the fastest man on the planet must be pretty special. He seems to enjoy the atmosphere and his attitude is brilliant.

Enjoy watching other sports?

Any rugby or football, but particularly tennis. I think the Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, Murray rivalry is the best there’s ever been and our generation is lucky to see four unbelievable sportsmen going at it.

Can Quins climb into the top four?

We’re still in the fight and are desperate for trophies. It’ll be a hell of a finish.

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