An email conversation with Chris Horman: 'Leading Huddersfield out at Twickenham would mean everything to me'

Fighting to be fit in time for the Challenge Cup final; Making a mark for the North-east in rugby league; Taking pride in an old friend's footballing success; Awakening one of the game's sleeping giants
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The Independent Online

What would it mean to you to lead Huddersfield out in the Challenge Cup final against St Helens on Saturday?

It would mean everything to me. I have worked very hard to get where I am today, and for a childhood ambition to become a reality would be unbelievable.

How's the hamstring?

It's hard to say at the moment because I have been unable to do any running on it. Our physio, Gary Slade, has been working really hard with me to ensure I have the best possible chance to play [on Saturday] ... but he has also made it clear my chances are not looking too favourable.

A Geordie in rugby league. How does that happen?

Quite easily really. I was a keen sportsman at school and got the opportunity to play rugby league at the age of nine. I enjoyed playing, which was made easier as a lot of my friends played as well. The older I got the better I got ... and the rest is history.

What sort of awareness of your success would you say there was in your home city of Newcastle?

I suppose the higher profile I become the more aware the people of the North-east become. It would be great to get the acknowledgement some of the footballers get, but to be honest I don't think that will ever happen.

Your two brothers both play. How have their careers progressed compared to your own and does your mum still help out at Gateshead Thunder?

Paul is playing at York and Neil is back at Gateshead. Both are very talented players but probably haven't got the breaks I got in the professional game. Saying that they are both still young and have aspirations of playing in the super league and I feel that they would be good enough. Mum is no longer associated with the Thunder. Along with my dad they spend most of their time driving up and down the M1 supporting myself and my brothers.

I believe you and Michael Carrick go back a long way. Do you stay in touch and are you now a Manchester United fan?

Michael and I were good friends at school. We don't see each other these days because of our busy schedules but we do have a lot of mutual friends. It's really great to see how well he's going these days ... even if he's not in the black and white of the Toon Army! I'm a big fan of Michael Carrick but definitely not Man Utd!

Huddersfield are the famous Sleeping Giants. What signs have you seen of the club and town awakening since you qualified for the final?

I've noticed a lot more people walking round town wearing Giants shirts. It's great to see because the more fans we have the better squad we can develop. There's also been a real buzz around the club since the semi. I hope it's not a short-term thing because I'd like to think it's just the start of bigger and better things to come.

Is there a danger that the team had its big performance against Leeds in the semi and won't be able to reach the same heights?

I don't think so. It's the Challenge Cup final and we'll all be pumped up for it. I'm sure John and his coaching staff will have the side very well prepared.

You had a stint playing in Australia. What benefit do you think you have drawn from that?

I did a lot of growing up in Australia and it made me realise that the stuff you do off the field is just as important as the stuff you do on it. If you want to be rewarded in life you have to work harder than anyone else is willing to. I think the Aussies have a great mentality in this regard. I also worked with a great set of coaches, not least Brian Smith. Brian is very articulate and looks at things in your game you might not have thought about working on.

You were added to the Great Britain squad last week. How do you rate your chances for the Tri-Nations and what message does your inclusion send to others from outside the rugby league mainstream?

If I can maintain good form for the rest of the season I have as good a chance as anyone. Their are plenty of talented rugby league players in the North-east and if they work hard enough they will make it in the game. I hope I can be some sort of inspiration to them.

What difference has it made playing alongside Robbie Paul?

Robbie is a great player. But he brings so much more to the club than just that. He's probably one of the most positive and passionate people I have met. He will have a massive influence on where the this club is heading over the next couple of years.

Whose skills would you rather have been born with: Alan Shearer or Andrew Johns?

To be honest neither! I am happy with what I have and would like to work harder to improve that.

If you are ruled out of the final, will you be able to watch or will it be just too painful?

I'm trying not to think about it too much as it would be quite emotional to miss the final.

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