Interview: Piri Weepu

 Get Frank chats to Piri Weepu about street fighter, facial hair, pranks and, of course, rugby. Piri has just released his auto biography, Piri: Straight Up – Cups, downs & keeping calm. Watch Piri's interview below, and for more answer's read on! 

What are your thoughts on the indigenous game they have in Rugby League vs the NRL all stars concept being applied to NZ, where an NZ Indigenous Team play the Super 15 All Stars?

I was thinking more along the lines of Rugby vs League playing each other but yeah that's a cool idea! That's an idea you might have to start spreading!

Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat?

Street Fighter. When I was a kid growing up I never quite mastered Mortal Kombat, so I stuck to Street Fighter because to me it seemed a lot more simple.

Any bullying down the old Fish and Chip shop around the arcade Street Fighter?

Not me. I was never really one of those guys to smash every one up on Street Fighter. I was always up to try challenge the guys who thought they were the professionals of Street Fighter. I didn't win though...

Which All Black over the decades has shown the fiercest facial hair?

Jason Eaton, if it was not the chops, it was the handle bars or the one he has at the moment - The Cave Man Look! He's a pretty creative guy with how he shapes his beard now and then....

Do you think it gives you a mental edge having that facial hair out there?

Na not at all, just can't be bothered shaving...

What's the toughest question you have ever been asked by a kid?

How much money do you have?

I got thrown one yesterday by a young teenage girl who basically asked me to marry her! Red and blue lights started going off in my head and I replied, I don't think that is going to quite work out, I don't really want to get locked up... You should talk to your father and I don't think my 2 year old would approve either...

Who are the top three most inspirational Kiwi sports people?

Tana Umaga, Jonah Lomu (What he's done, how hard he has had to fight at times for his life) and Mahi Drysdale - From what he did earlier this year to winning a gold at Olympics.

What's are some of the stand out memories you have in All Black Jersey to date?

Running out and playing 60 mins in my first test match ever at Cardiff.One moment where leading up to Joe Rockoko's try, I gained a turn over. After the try was scored Richie came and patted me on the back, the game was really close and that was a key moment in a do or die match. 

And of course winning the World Cup last year.

What are the differences between a player achieving their potential or not quite cracking it?

It could be a number of things: Who they hang around with, your close mates and not being able to separate from what they are doing. Not having the motivation - they may just want to play footy for the fun of it. The main one I think is players having huge potential but hanging out with the wrong crowd.

Have you ever been at a cross roads on achieving your potential?

I always had good mates about and hung out with the right people. I've made some silly decisions at times but that's part of life, no one's ever gone through life being perfect!

In your autobiography, Piri: Straight Up – Cups, downs & keeping calm, you mentioned that after you’ve hung up your boots you might consider a coaching career. What are three attributes you think make an exceptional coach?

1. Game plan and structures.

2. Working hard on knowing your opposition (doing your homework)

3. Being able to work with your players strengths and weakness so they can put the time into working on those areas of weakness.

I have spent some time coaching a women's team in Wellington. I brought some of the boys in to help me out at times but the best thing about coaching women is they love to learn. Coaching is something I have dabbled in but will have a look at later on.

Halfback is a position which tends to get some pretty excitable players, can you tell us about any "sledging"?

Tawera Kerr-Barlow sometimes - he's pretty good at trying to get under your skin at scrum times: pulling your jersey, holding your arm, trying to elbow you a little bit, nothing too big... Probably the worst thing I have had is a flanker stand on my foot whilst he was trying to protect his number 8 at scrum time... If it happened again I would probably wait for him to put his hand on the ground and stand on it... ha ha.

What pre game music do you listen to?

Tomorrow People (NZ reggae), PNC and really anything rap, up tempo, that gets me angry!

You've done some TV with Small Blacks TV for the kids, did you enjoy that?

Yeah I did. I think I will have to take my role back off Izzy, because his Maori is not as good as some of the kid's doing commentary. I enjoyed doing the Maori word of the week, going into schools and the kids were really good. 

You’re known as a bit of a prankster. Have you had any repercussions to your pranks?

We have a group in the All Blacks called The Tripod - Israel Dagg, Cory Jane and Zac Guilford. We had a few cracks at the tripod last year but the biggest prankster is Ma'a, so trying to get him back is always key thing to do. You got to get your timing right with him and be on your guard.

What’s your goal setting process?

Starting with targets for myself is important. Ticking boxes with what is in front of you right there and then. For me, that would be staying under a certain weight, getting a certain score in a yoyo test, lifting weights. When I first made the AB's I didn't put a lot of thought into goal setting but then when time came close to 2007, my goal was to be at that World Cup which didn't quite work out but obviously 2011 I did and we were quite successful there!

What are your thoughts on producing a kina pie?

Kina on rice but kina and pastry not sure, probably have to try it. Never had Cooked kina before, could be interesting.

You were head boy at Te Aute College. Who else has emerged to achieve great things from that school?

Riki Flutey - Played for England and Norm Hewitt 

What’s your favourite ground to play on and why?

Cake Tin because it's home, on a perfect day I don't think you can beat it. When those perfect days come that's why you hang around in Wellington for that perfect day. As long as it's not a southerly or rain coming sideways.

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  • djb70 says
    An interesting interview there. I'm looking forward to reading his book.
  • Dave says
    This is one good reading book about NZ Rugby... Piri is a living legend of our All Blacks... it would be great for his and All Blacks fans to read this book.. Cheers!
  • Dave says
    This is one good reading book about NZ Rugby... Piri is a living legend of our All Blacks... it would be great for his and All Blacks fans to read this book.. Cheers!
  • LUCKYONE says
    Good interview on Piri, enjoyed reading it and would like to read his book.
  • Good on ya Piri, great attitude from a great player.
  • New Member says
    He is such an inspiration, i look forward to seeing more of him now and in the future....I was so disappointed when i missed him at whitcoulls but I had to work....that sucks man,,,,,,
  • Dan says
    Not bad for a kid from a league family
  • Roly says
    One for every Dad and son come Xmas when reduced in the Warehouse.
  • RW says
    Awesome player and role model.
  • Dansta says
    Exactly what I was thinking!

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