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IN TOUCH: Benetton Treviso RaboDirect PRO12 Ambassador Paul Derbyshire

Guinness PRO12 Editor

19 Oct 2012

Treviso flanker Paul Derbyshire has become a key member of the Italian side since they joined the RaboDirect PRO12 three years ago while also becoming a fixture in Italy’s international plans.

Since making his debut for the Azzurri in 2009, Derbyshire has racked up 16 international caps.

With the RaboDirect PRO12 currently on a break for European action Derbyshire tells us about his big head and why France flanker Olivier Magne was his hero growing up.

What are your nicknames?
I’ve got a few nicknames but the one that comes up the most is Testone which is the Italian for big head. It’s mainly in rugby that people use it but everyone I know seems to have taken to calling me by it now.

If you weren't playing rugby what would you want to be?
I’m not sure about a specific job but I grew up living by the sea so I would want it to be something to do with that. My home town is Cecina near Livorno, and really anything involved the beach or the sea would be good. Maybe I’d like doing something on a boat.

Who are your rugby heroes?
I’d have to say Olivier Magne was the person I grew up watching. He was really the complete flanker which is why he stood out. He was probably one of the first modern players in that he was a really good all-round player. I remember I used to love watching him play.

Who has been your best ever roommate?
Fabio Semenzato, one of our scrum-halves at Treviso is the person I tend to room with when we go away. He’s a good friend and more importantly he’s very funny so he keeps you entertained on the trips away from home.

Who's your gym buddy?
Marco Filippucci at Treviso is the guy I spend most of my time with in the gym. We’ve known each other since playing for the Italy age groups together and he plays in the back row as well so we get on well.

Which rugby player would you least like to meet down a dark alley?
It’s a difficult one to answer but I’d probably say one of the Tuilagi brothers. I’m sure they are really nice guys but they look pretty big and I’m sure they could do a bit of damage.

What are your guilty 'diet' pleasures?
Being in Italy I’d probably say pizza. It’s not the best for my fitness so I try to make sure that I have no more than one a week.

What are your hobbies outside rugby?
I get up to the usual stuff on my days off, I like to read, I play a bit of guitar. I’m not very good though because I’m still learning so for now it has to be quite easy stuff for me to play.

What newspaper do you read?
I live in Italy so I have to read the Gazzetta Dello Sport which is our sport paper. If I read anything else it’s usually La Repubblica.

What song do you listen to before a match?
Before a game I like to listen to the Passenger by Iggy Pop. I’m not really sure why, but I like rock in general, and that seems to get me up for a game.

Do you play any other sports?
I quite enjoy basketball and I watch a bit of football, although I don’t play. I support Juventus though so the football is going quite well at the moment.

Who is your favourite rugby pundit?
I’d have to go for Vittorio Munari who does a lot of the games in Italy. He’s very knowledgeable having played the game before.

Do you have any superstitions?
At the moment I don’t have any superstitions but I think it’s probably about time I got one because I keep getting injured. I’ll have to start thinking about what I can do.