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Hambo interviews Fester

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    Hambo interviews Fester

    The Independent
    <H1>The Matt Hampson Interview: Ireland legend Keith Wood on the future</H1>[/i]

    <!-proximic_c&#111;ntent_&#111;n->The best hooker of his generation, Ireland's legendary talisman talks about life after rugby, memorable Lions tours and his long-term plans to return to rugby<!-proximic_c&#111;ntent_off->
    Friday, 17 October 2008

    Matt Hampson: Keith Wood, aka Uncle Fester!

    Keith Wood: That's very kind!

    MH: What are you up to these days?

    KW: I have a real variety; I obviously have media work, so I work for the BBC and write for the Daily Telegraph and Irish Newspapers. I'm involved in a radio station over in Ireland as well and I've a property company - I've worked at that for a long time - and I still do some ambassadorial work for RBS and Bushman's Whiskies and for a couple of Irish companies as well. So I'm pretty full on with work.

    MH: When you retired from the game, did you ever think about taking up a coaching role?

    KW: I didn't really, I was lucky in some ways in that I'd worked for a bank for five or six years early on before the game went professional and I had worked at business whilst I was playing which I enjoyed. I set up a PR company effectively to look after my own issues and my own commercial projects that I wanted to work on. I was very happy with the idea of going into business, I wasn't mad about going into rugby as it had been so much of my life for so long and I wanted to step away from it. I never doubted I'd go back into it and will go back into it. I've three young sons and if they decide they want to play rugby well then I'd like to try and help them out as much as I could. And I've no issue dealing with guys who might have a problem with elements of their game and talking through it. But the thought of donning a tracksuit everyday - it just didn't appeal to me.

    MH: You had a long and distinguished career in the game, what would you say are your highlights?

    KW: Well, playing for the Lions was phenomenal; winning in '97 in South Africa was brilliant. Even the tour in 2001, even though we lost the series, was an incredible experience.

    I remember being told by an older player early on that after a period of time, 10 matches or so, every international you play is just another match, but I never felt that. Every chance I got to represent my country I thought it was just a magnificent thing to be able to do and I loved it. So I look at virtually all those international matches I played in as highlights and, you know, we didn't win regularly until the latter half of my career and it was sometimes really, really hard but it was still an honour and a responsibility and I loved it for that.

    MH: You mentioned the Lions in 1997 and next summer they return to face the Springboks who are world champions again. What do you think about the tour and who do you see as the main contenders for your old No.2 shirt?

    KW: Looking at it from this far out, virtually anything could happen - there's a good few guys in contention. I had an objection to Clive Woodward's policy in 2005 (Lions tour to New Zealand) - the idea of bringing so many players and so many coaches and sort of separating the teams up, I thought went against the ethos of the Lions. And there was an awful lot of guys who went who I felt shouldn't have really gone.

    You know, the Lions are supposed to be the cream of the crop, not the whole crop. Virtually everyone who played in Britain and Ireland with the exception of very few players got picked and I think that's the wrong way to d
    "When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams, this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness. But maddest of all -- to see life as it is, and not as it should be!"

    I dont completley agree on the new rules, that they had to be changed.
    The pulling down the maul for one is f**king stupid and I'm not saying
    that just because it was one of Munsters strengths. part of the joy of
    rugby is that physical power still has a major place, and to maul
    properly you were able to combine that power, technique and skill and
    get a reward from it. Stopping it against a team who used it well was
    something you had to think about, and develop a technical technique to
    do so. Any owl f**king eeijet can pull down a maul, stopping one legally
    by other means was a great achievement. The rolling maul has now
    been removed from the game of rugby and thats a shame.
    \"Golf is a game for c**ts\" Ronnie Drew