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The Independent Culture
IT WAS a World Cup match day, but I wasn't picked for the England XV so I had time to eat a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. I like mixing all the different cereals together, so I had a bowl of Cornflakes, All- Bran and Alpen. I also had a glass of fresh orange juice and a cup of tea; some of it is quite drink- able here in South Africa. Back home in England, if I'm in a rush to go training or off to work, I'll just grab an apple or a banana and I'm straight out the door. Here, we train for several hours in the morning, then have lunch. On this occasion I had a massive bowl of spaghetti Bolgnese. Pasta is a great food to have because it really fills you up, and also keeps up the carbohydrate level you really need for a match. For dessert I had a flapjack, and washed it all down with water. It may sound rigorously healthy, but I'm not as virtuous as I sound; I always have a chocolate binge in the afternoon. As rugby players, our diets aren't that restricted. We just have to make sure we eat reasonably healthily, with not too much fat and a lot of carbohydrates.

When we all got together again after the match, I had a couple of ham and salad sandwiches. We had a barbecue to go to in the evening, so I was saving myself for that. There, I gave the salad a miss and went straight for the chicken - lots of it. I must have eaten more than half a chick- en, along with a few white bread rolls. But I passed, so to speak, on the dessert because I was too full. If there's ever a chocolate pudding around, or a tiramisu, I'm the first one to dive straight in. I also drank a couple of glasses of red wine with the meal. We're not hugely restricted in our drinking, but it does have to be in moderation. Moderate for a rugby player, I suppose. I don't drink alcohol every day, anyway. When I'm at home I usually go out to eat rather than cook for myself. I suppose my diet is fairly healthy; I don't like eating lots of fatty foods anyway. There's no official weight you need to reach and maintain to play at this level, but weighing 16st 10lb does help. You don't want to lose too much weight when you're a prop forward like me.