Interview to Percy Mongomery

What follows is a translation of the interview that Springbok Percy Montgomery conceded to spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo on Feb 22 2008.

Coming from Saint Petersburg, where he and his teammates were awarded the Laureus Trophy for the best team of 2008, Percy Montgomery warmly welcomes us. "To be honest, I know spanish football (soccer) better than spanish rugby. My eldest son, who plays more footbal than rugby, has already watched a football game in Barcelona, but I don't know the cicty, yet; I've been told it's beautiful but I find myself at home here in Perpignan", says Percy.
Why did you move from South Africa to France? we ask him. "A change was much needed. I always wanted to play in France. As a child I watched Les Bleus tests and after winning the World Cup I made my mind. Besides, I like the french lifestyle and I also love the way they play rugby, the way the ball is passed here; their gamestyle is much like mine, so with these factors, and the fact that life in Perpignan is quietter than in my country, that the USAP has made it so easy (house, car), here I am...", he answers.
He's delighted with the house, neighbours, weather, food and language. He's also delighted of leaving his country after the World Cup madness. "I needed to leave, find new challenges: European Cup. That's what they have hired me for". Montgomery says that rugby is South Africa's national sport, but he finds names like Gary Player and now Ernie Els have helped a lot putting South Africa under the spotlight. "'Big Easy' is a great rugby aficionado and watched the final at Paris. Once it was over, he came with president Mbeki and we celebrated the triumph with some beer", he explains. About the third time myth, he says: "Of course there is a third time! Once you have won, there's no better way to celebrate than with a beer".
The 6 Nations is played by northern hemisphere teams wheras the southerns -South Africa, Australia and New Zealand- play the TriNations. "It would be wonderful to play the 6 Nations, but that's what the World Cup was made; to gather all big teams. The All Blacks are always favourites in the World Cup, althought they have only once won (1987). Montgomery thinks the kiwis have a lot of pressure, a lot is expected of them... But they are great players, I do have good friends there and next Rugby Wolrd Cup edition they will be favourites again", he points out.
Montgomery is adamant that the successes of the national rugby team (They won their first title in 1995) "has united people of different cultures and skin-colours, and that's very positive. The World Cup helped my country to feel a little bit more united. The celebration was spectacular".
The World Cup triumph helps the image of South Africa towards the 2010 Football World Cup. "Of course, we not only have the 'Big Five' (Lions, Leopards, Buffalos, Elefants and Cheetahs). We have a very beautiful country, a wonderful weather and security, although it's a problem, is being figthed by the government. I love my country but crime is a real problem and the government is facing it".
Montgomery has met a few times apratheid icon, ex-president Nelson Mandela. "I feel very lucky that I got to know him. He's a very good person and a big follower of ours. There is a before and after Mandela and my country has changed due to him".

See the original intervew (in spanish) at: El Mundo Deportivo


Anonymous said...

Percy Montgomery has been a great servant to SA rugby. Infortunbately he isn't what we call 'the sharpest tool in the toolbox.' He overcame a lot of criticism, including mine, before and after he went to Wales. I must commend him on his perseverence; he turned out to be a big star despite the FACT he was not the best fullback in South Africa. Just the prettiest!

sesenta y cuatro said...

He performed well at fullback, and proved to be a reliable kicker for South Africa.

I think he's been a great player for the Springboks.

Anonymous said...

Actually Percy's always been a pretty good player, it's just a lot of people can't get past his looks, and over the years he's become even better at what he does and better looking as well. He's probably the best full back in South Africa currently.

Anonymous said...

you all nag about how bad percy was he gave his hart to rugby.Not like others who play for the money he is the best springbok player and the proudest standing tall. I d like to meet him anyday having 100 caps that really amases me .Percy its time to take a break u deserve it.Play some golf.