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20 Questions: Nick Abendanon – Bath full-back

Nick AbendanonPleased with your form this season?

Pretty pleased. Coming off the back of scoring a hat-trick for England’s mid- week side in South Africa  was good and it’s been exciting to start afresh under new coaches at Bath.

Impressions of Bath’s new regime?

A big change! But it’s one the team needed. Gary Gold and the other coaches have put their stamp on what’s needed and everyone’s bought into it.

What’s the biggest change?

All the detail. Gary loves his stats and if he puts a point across he expects you to understand what he wants. If you do it wrong, you soon find out!

Sorry to see Olly Barkley go?

He’s a good friend and he’s going to be missed. But it’s a good opportunity for him at Racing Metro, so hopefully he’ll enjoy it.

Fancy France yourself one day?

I wouldn’t rule it out. I’d probably try a bit further south than Paris if I ever did cross the Channel, but the Top 14 is definitely a competition that intrigues me.

Enjoy the sun then… favourite holiday spot?

One of my best friends lives in Bermuda and when I get the chance I go for a couple of weeks and enjoy the luxuries of his yacht.

Surprised with your England call-up in June?

Yes. My brother lives in Jo’burg and I was staying with him after Pieter Dixon’s wedding when the call came. I had to borrow some boots from England’s media officer!

How do you see your battle with Mike Brown, Ben Foden and Alex Goode?

Everyone seems to be playing well at full-back so it’s down to which attributes Stuart Lancaster is looking for. I’d say we’re all around the same level. We’re all good broken-field runners, can tackle and are sound under the high ball.

How do you chill-out?

I love my golf and play off a 10 handicap. I took on Mike Claassens, Stephen Donald and Carl Fearns at the Vale of Glamorgan last week and relieved them of their money.

How was Carl Fearns’ sense of humour?

Typical Scouser, he gets far too aggressive and angry when he hits a poor shot. He’s a right moaner, too… always whingeing about something or other.

Best and worst trainers?

Guy Mercer’s the best. All the young boys are keen these days, trying to impress the coaches. Worst is Stephen Donald at the moment. He’s taken my place on the physio bed and only trains about once a week these days.

Something about Danny Grewcock we don’t know?

He lives outside Wells, which is a 45-minute drive from our training ground, but he cycles to work and back every day. He’s still super fit!

Tightest players?

Tom Biggs… typical Yorkshireman. But Josh Ovens is the worst. He lives with his parents and has loads of money, but he’ll only ever buy coffee for himself.

Sportsman you’d swap places with?

Rafa Nadal or Roger Federer. I love playing and watching tennis and playing on the ATP tour would be pretty cool.

Teenage sporting idols?

Rugby-wise Christian Cullen, the New Zealand fullback. I liked Mike Tyson as well. Loved his boxing, his aggression and how he thought nobody could beat him.

Life ambition?

I’ve always wanted to visit the Great Wall of China and travel around China and Japan. I’ll probably take a month at some time and go there.

Enjoy cooking?

Love it. I do it as much as possible and my speciality is fajitas.

Best and worst things about rugby?

Best is being able to play a sport you love with some of your closest friends. Worst is training outside in December and January when it’s freezing and snowing.

Team-mate you’re a little afraid of?

Paul James. He’s from the Welsh Valleys and is a rough cookie. He takes no prisoners and is a very tough guy.

Ambitions for the season?

Premiership top 4 with Bath and to win my third England cap. It’s been a long time since I won my first two against South Africa and France in 2007.

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