Gwladrugby’s very own Dai H caught up with Cardiff Blues’ Michael Paterson for a Q&A ahead of the new Pro12 season.
Important things first: good holiday back in NZ? What did you get up to apart from recuperate (I’ve no idea what rugby players do in their off time)?
Back in NZ I was recovering after the first of two shoulder operations that I needed done over the summer. I spent the majority of my time in the earthquake ruined Christchurch and also on the family farm on the Canterbury Plains. Normal activities such as jet boating and other physical activities were a no go as I was wearing a sling the entire time I was there.
How are the shoulders now you’ve had the ops, and when can we expect to see you back in action?
The first shoulder is well on the way to getting back to strength with some good rehab since returning from NZ…….. The left shoulder has only recently passed the 4 week post op date and now is out of the sling and we are just waiting for it to join the party and behave like the right one. With all going to plan I should be back in action toward the end of September
Seeing as you were double player of the year last season, does this put any pressure on you to perform well this season?
Personally it was a great year picking up the two awards and I always strive to achieve the best I can….. personal performance is something I pride myself on so I will be working doubley hard to get back up to speed as quickly as possible when my shoulders allow me to and back on the field.
Follow up to the above question: with a lot of experienced players moving on, do you see yourself taking on a more senior role with the team this year?
I guess in someway with a lot of players retiring at the end of last year there is a certain degree of responsibility to take on board but in saying that there are a lot of natural leaders within the group that we currently have and I’m sure with everyone doing their bit it can be a successful year.
It’s a tough Heineken Cup draw you’ve got this season, especially the away games at Toulon and Montpellier. Do you think if you can get an away win in the first round of matches (like in Paris last year) that you can get enough momentum to get out of the group?
It is a tough Heineken Cup pool but we will be doing the best we can to get out of the group. Last year showed that victories away from home are achievable and we need to prepare in the best way possible as a team to achieve this.
You looked pretty happy after the Connacht match at the Arms Park last year (I vaguely remember you holding up a ‘Welcome Home’ sign or something similar), how did you find the experience of playing a couple of matches there?
The Arms Park has a lot of great history and it was awesome to be able to play there last year with such a great bunch of boys. The victories we had there made it so much sweeter with being so close to our supporters and being able to share the experience with them after the game. All the boys are very excited to be returning there and cant wait to get back there for the coming season and to see and listen to all the supporters again.
How do you like living in Cardiff? Have you seen much of Wales/the UK/Europe since you’ve been over here?
Cardiff is a great place to live and play rugby, the Welsh are very friendly and so passionate about rugby. In the two years of living here I’ve been very fortunate to travel to some amazing places with both rugby and in last years summer holidays. Greece would have to be at the top of the list of places I want to return after spending time in Crete and Mitzela (on the east coast north of Volos)
Now the easy questions: your top 3 rugby stadiums that you’ve played at?
AMI Stadium – Christchurch
Loftus Versfeld – Pretoria
Avia Stadium – Dublin
Top 3 you’d like to play at?
Millenium Stadium – Cardiff
Stade de France – Paris
Twickenham – London
Players you’ve love playing with and those you hate playing against?
With – Paul Tito
Against – Sebastien Chabal
Can you recommend somewhere to get a good fried breakfast in Cardiff?
The home of Scott Andrews