IrishRugby.ie scrummed down for a player profile session with Garryowen back rower and captain Paul Neville, who famously skippered the Limerick club to a senior treble (AIB League, AIB Cup and Munster Senior Cup) in the 2006/07 season.
IrishRugby.ie: When and where were you born and where did you start playing rugby?
Paul Neville: I was born in Limerick in 1979, started playing with Old Crescent in their underage set-up and then in school with Ardscoil Ris in Limerick.
IR: Favourite position?
PN: Number 8.
IR: Favourite pre-match meal?
PN: Poached eggs and toast.
IR: Favourite pre-match music?
PN: Anything to chill out. The Killers, X Factor hopefuls!
IR: Any superstitions?
PN: No, not really. I hate small dressing rooms though and sitting beside Lav (Declan Lavery).
IR: What is the club song and do you have a ‘party piece’?
PN: ‘Hurray for Garryowen’ is the club song. Party piece – no!
IR: If you could change a rugby law?
PN: I would get rid of the ‘mark’ in the 22.
IR: ELVs – would you keep them or get rid of them?
PN: Keep, but bring in the free kick.
IR: Favourite memory playing for Garryowen?
PN: Winning the AIB League, AIB Cup and Munster Senior Cup in 2007.
IR: Most embarrassing rugby-related moment?
PN: Encouraging my team-mates in a school match (Ardscoil Ris v Crescent Comp) by saying ‘come on Crescent’ when playing for Ardscoil! I was playing club rugby in Old Crescent at the time.
IR: Captaining the team – does it come naturally to you or do you have to work on it?
PN: Bit of both really. I’m always learning but I draw on past experiences to help.
IR: Best player you’ve played with in your career to date?
PN: Keith Earls.
IR: Best player you’ve played against?
PN: Tim Allnutt – unbelievable side step!
IR: Dream back row – who would you play alongside?
PN: Zinzan Brooke, Olivier Magne and me – nice ring to it.
IR: Biggest influence(s) on your rugby career?
PN: My fiancee and family.
IR: You’ve had a difficult start to the season but how vital was last Saturday’s win at Old Belvedere and can you turn things around, particularly before the Christmas break?
PN: Absolutely. It’s a much different league this season, it’s very tight. The Belvedere win was great. We’ve a huge match against Cork Constitution this weekend and that will tell a lot.
IR: Aspirations for Garryowen this season?
PN: Top four play-off spot in the league and to go on and win it out.
IR: Aspirations for the rest of your rugby career?
PN: To stay injury free.