An email conversation with Jamie Noon

'Taking on the All Blacks in their backyard is the biggest challenge'
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The Independent Online

After a long season for club and country are you relishing the thought of taking on the All Blacks? Taking on the All Blacks in their own backyard has to be one of the biggest challenges there is. It's something all of us are excited about.

Given the start to your England career – a couple of caps, a gap of a couple of years, a couple more caps, before eventually stringing appearances together – do you feel you have now established yourself in the England set-up? You can't ever relax and think you have established yourself. There are a lot of good-quality players, all trying to get the England shirt on their back.

When you suffer serious injury as in the World Cup last year, when you damaged a knee, are you a good patient? I'm a bad one. My wife always complains when I haven't played for a while, saying I'm very irritable and grumpy.

How do you occupy your mind when you are laid up? I have two children and another on the way; they keep me busy. I'm also working for Hardy & Greys, a fishing company, and I have been training and working on the planning of my charity bike ride. I'm going from coast to coast, from St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay, 210 miles, off road, in four days. I have been lent a bike that's capable of completing the challenge, a specialised Stumpjumper FSR Expert. I love it. My fund-raising site is justgiving.com/jamienoon

What has been your proudest moment for a) England and b) Newcastle? a) Scoring a hat-trick when my wife and week-old son were at the game (against Scotland in 2005) was a real high; b) I have been lucky enough to play for the Falcons in the 2004 Powergen Cup final and the 2001 Tetley's Bitter Cup final, which were both great days, made better because of the great support we had from the Geordies.

What is it like playing alongside Jonny Wilkinson – easy, difficult or fun? JW is such a great player, it's always great to play in the same team. He makes things look easy and makes my job, at centre, a bit easier too. He's a real "great" of the game and I'm glad he's on my team.

Will the close-season departure of Mathew Tait and Toby Flood have a detrimental effect on the Falcons' chances next season? It's difficult to read the future. They will be missed, definitely, because they have become integral players. The key for Newcastle will be the recruit-ment drive this summer and what quality we bring in. It will be weird lining up against them next year, though.

If they show any aptitude, will you encourage your children to go into professional sport? Sure. I've really enjoyed my experiences so far, so if they could experience some of that, that would be great. I'm a bit worried that I'll be a pushy parent, actually, always striving for perfection from them.

What ambitions do you have for yourself, for Newcastle and for England? I have so much to achieve with Newcastle – next year our aim is Heineken Cup qualification. I would love to have Newcastle reach the heights of the club greats and compete for league and cup, and a Euro win would be nice too. I have still to win a Six Nations or Grand Slam with England. I would love to go to the World Cup again but, hopefully, stay longer next time. There's also a tour with the British and Irish Lions next year, so there's still loads left to do.

Do you follow other sports? I always see how Newcastle United have gone, and enjoy watching England playing cricket. I love most sports .

Do you play any other sports? I don't play golf – I've tried, but struggled and didn't have time to get better. I love fly -fishing, but I wouldn't say I was any good.

If you hadn't been a professional rugby player, what would you have done for a living? I have a degree in sport and exercise science, so I probably would have needed to rely on that. I love the idea of having my own small business one day. Maybe have a farm or something.

What interests do you have outside rugby? I enjoy spending time with my family, doing anything really. I love days at the beach, swimming or just going for walks or kids' bike rides. I like fishing and mountain biking. I have been reading more and like movies and music.

Do you think young players coming into the game should be encouraged to learn another trade for when they stop playing? That's a great idea, but it's difficult to manage both. Newcastle always had that policy, but I think fewer and fewer players are doing any study. The Professional Rugby Players' Association works with players to further their skills and help them with their careers after rugby.

Are you an early bird or a night owl? An early bird, especially now, with the kids. We have been known to be home from a full week's food shop at 9am.

What is on your iPod? I have a blend of stuff – at the moment I'm listening to The Fray. I also have the kids' music on it. My son loves "The Blaydon Races".

Are you good around the house? We all have to muck in, with two toddlers flying around.

Are you easy-going enough to cope? I like to think I'm easy-going. The joke at the club is that I try to be funny all the time and I have a ratio of 100-1, so one in a hundred jokes is funny – the thing is, the other boys' ratio is a lot worse.

Jamie Noon wears the Asics lethal DS rugby boot. More information on Asics ambassadors is available at www.asics.co.uk

Attachment

*Born 9 May 1979, Goole, Yorkshire.

*Personal Married to Rachel, two children: Lewis and Elodie Grace.

*Club Newcastle Falcons.

*Position Centre.

*Honours 31 England caps, seven tries. English Universities, England Under-21, Sevens, A/Saxons, Barbarians. *Extras Started life as a flanker but converted to centre at Newcastle's academy. In 2005 became third England player to score a hat-trick against Scotland. Started England's first two 2007 World Cup matches, but tore medial ligaments in left knee in the second.

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