You asked for it, you got it!
Ever since our awards in January, we’ve been inundated with tweets, emails and the occasional poke in the arm from readers wanting to know when we’d pin down Ospreys prop Cai Griffiths for a chat. After a flurry of tweets and last minute panic on the streets of Landore, our Lauren sat in the bleachers of the Liberty Stadium ahead of the Ospreys’Magners League game against Munster to talk rugby, beards and get to the rather red bottom of what goes on when the O’s are on the road…
How’s the mood in Ospreylia at the moment?
It’s good, looking back a couple of months ago we were quite disappointed with the Heineken Cup as we targeted that this year. But now it’s positive. Last three games we’ve lost our way a little bit, but tonight should be a good one to turn it around to be honest.
There’s quite a lot of change going on at the moment, are you seeing that as something positive going forward?
Yeah there’s a couple of players leaving but every year you have players leaving and coming in. It’s just different as a couple of the bigger names are leaving this year. Exciting times coming next year, we’ve got some quality players coming in.
You’ve been with the Ospreys since the beginning, so do you feel like you’ve grown with the club?
Yeah I feel like I’m Ospreys through and through, to be honest. I’ve been here since 2003, so it’s been a good few long years. I’ve seen a lot of changes but in the last couple of years it feels like we’ve gone up another level, regarding this place, the players, the coaching staff we’ve got and even the pitches where we train, so it’s all positive.
Would you never be tempted away by the money elsewhere?
Not at this stage, no. I’ve got another year on my contract out here and then we’ll see how I feel!
Well done on your 100th cap last week, but earlier in the year you also won two awards from Manpilez, how did that make you feel?
It was awesome when I heard about that! It’s good, Twitter, I just find it a bit of fun, it’s a good way to communicate with the fans and get stuff out there. When I got those two awards it was awesome! The third with the hundredth cap… that was a great achievement to be honest. I think I’m only the second non-international to have it so it was a great honour.
Do you think you might have a bit of a Twitter problem sometimes?
I’ve got into trouble one or two times, so I need to be careful what I’m putting on there sometimes. But no, Twitter’s a good laugh, I enjoy bantering with the other boys, especially with the Scarlets boys and stuff. It’s just a bit of light hearted stuff but sometimes people take it a bit too serious but you’ve just got to take it with a pinch of salt, to be honest.
Regarding your other award (for ‘Best Bromance’, with former team mate Edd Shervington): How much do you miss Edd, really?
I miss him a lot to be honest. Actually I’ve just come off the phone to him, he’d just come off from playing today. I speak to Edd on a daily basis, we’ve both got an iPhone 4 so we tend to FaceTime each other quite a bit, we’ve got a nice bromance going on. He’s a very close friend. He’s a man with a lot of values, so you’ve got to keep your good friends quite close to you.
You help him out on the farm, don’t you?
Yeah, I’ve been on the farm with him a few times and he said there’s a job for me when I’ve finished my career. I don’t know if I’ll actually take that and play with the pigs and stuff when I retire but it’s a big farm he’s got there and it’s going good, so it’s good for him!
How’s your season been?
It’s been good, last couple of months it’s been really good, I’ve been starting quite a bit. First half of the season wasn’t too bad, I played a couple of games here and there but I’ve found that you’ve got to play a good couple of games on the bounce, get into a rhythm and know where you are as a player. I’ve been working hard, not just on the field but behind the scenes as well and it’s paying off. I’m not involved here today which is a bit disappointing, but we’ve got another game and hopefully two more after that and it’s the off-season!
What’s your highlight been?
Probably reaching my 100th cap for the Ospreys. There’s been a couple of things but that one really sticks out to be honest. Seeing the quality of the other players who have reached that 100th cap and be so lucky to hit it. I’m god friends with Filo Tiatia and he just missed out he was on his 99th cap [when he retired from playing], I talked to him before I had my 100th and he said some good things before I went out there.
There’s been a lot of talk this year about issues around the scrum, as a prop do you feel there are problems or is it conjecture?
There’s a lot of talk about it, and there are a lot of reset scrums. Personally, I think all round there needs to be a bit more awareness. I think some refs have got it but some refs tend to guess on it. I don’t want to put the blame on refs as some props do, not deliberately, bring it down. If you don’t win that engagement they’d rather take the 50/50 risk of going to deck and maybe getting a penalty against you , penalty for you or a reset scrum so I think some props, if they don’t get the hit, they think they can go back or collapse it. But I don’t think there’s a major issue to be honest.
So… what was the beard all about?
The famous beard!
It seems to be coming back already…
I know, I usually go for the stubble look! The beard was there for Grow a Grav in November, then December came and it felt a bit chilly so I kept it on. It just grew and became a part of me, to be honest.
It was almost its own person at one point!
Yeah, I know, it nearly had its own name I think! Saved me buying a scarf for the winter, but the weather’s got a bit hotter now so I thought it was time for a change so I‘ve clipped it off.
What does ‘Clean Off’ actually mean?
Clean off… it’s a term we use quite a lot down here…It’s clean off, maybe another way of saying it is ‘off the hook’ just a bit wild!
What’s with all the aubergines, can you explain that?
That aubergine is a close guarded secret among my group of friends…
Would you have to kill me if you told me?
Yes, and everybody else around us.
How much Nando’s do you eat a week?
The amount of times I’m in there I should have a Black Card I think! I go there quite a bit, I enjoy it, it’s nice, it is what it is. It’s sort of quick, like fast food, but it’s not as well if you know what I mean? It caters for my dietary needs and most of the boys. So yeah, Nando’s is a good shout, and I should have a black card!
If you we stuck on a desert island with two of your team mates who would they be and why?
It’d be Edd Shervington… it’s quite hard. So many good boys! I don’t think it’d be Tom Smith to be honest, cause he doesn’t offer much, seems I carry him much of the time. I think maybe Jamie Nutbrown, he’s a good boy, brings good banter with him so it’d be them two.
What would be your perfect day off?
Just one day?
Yeah, you could do absolutely anything with it though…
It would be somewhere sunny, with music blaring and a beach…
Not quite Mumbles, no! Somewhere exotic!
Who’s your best or worst roommate when you’re away?
Best roommate I’ve ever had is probably Andrew Milward, and old tighthead here, used to bring muffins all the time. I had to make the tea for him, but in return I’d have a muffin!
Worst… I’d say the worst is Tom Smith. Full stop.
Have you two had a row or something?
No, no, no, it’s just Tom Smith!
Do you have a pre match ritual?
Leading up to the game, no not really. I just try and chill out, have some food. If we’re playing at home and I have to cook the food, I find it hard to eat it for some reason, I don’t know why that is.
Going into the game I listen to some music and I have got a bit of a ritual, I can’t leave the dressing room last and I tend to be running onto the field the third player.
Do you have a song that you play to get you into game mode?
Little bit of funky house bit of Akon sometimes, just depends on what mood I’m in. Sometimes I’ll go for a little bit of 30 Seconds to Mars; I mix it up to be honest change my playlist week by week!
What’s your favourite book?
Don’t read books!
My favourite Mp3…
Sorry, we’re a bit old school!
CD’s what are they!? Nicki Minaj, Moment 4 Life, that’s my favourite song at the moment.
So what’s your favourite film?
At the moment it’s Call Of Duty
Bit of a long standing one, that one, isn’t it?
Yeah, it kills the time and again, it’s good banter. I’ve got a couple of the boys addy’s, different teams and stuff and we tend to play against each other. You guys interviewed Danny Care didn’t you? I’ve got his addy but I’ve not had chance to play him yet so if he’s online when I am I’ll kick his arse!
What’s been your favourite incident or prank when you’ve been away?
Um, good crack is playing that game where you play table tennis but you all go round the table… You get three lives and if you miss a shot you lose a life. If you take all three lives the other boys are allowed to slap your arse with a bat or a flip flop so, that kills the time when we go away?
Is there someone who’s particularly bad at it?
No, we’re all pretty bad we all have glowing arses when we’re away… due to that game!
Who’s your rugby hero?
When I was growing up, Jonah Lomu, he was massive I don’t really have a hero but I do always look up to him, he was an immense player.
Interview by Lauren, picture from Zimbio. Amazon links help to support Manpilez