In our business, it’s always important that you make the most of your down time.
I like to think that trips to Val D’Isere and the Cheltenham Gold Cup were a good example of having a bit of fun when the chance arises!
The visit to the French ski resort was to celebrate London Irish’s fly-half Shane Geraghty’s Stag Do. We went to school together at Colston’s and it was great to catch up with him and some other lads for a laugh.
True to form, I lost my phone within two hours of getting there and felt like I was getting too old for it when I got back!
We had awesome time though and that involved dressing up as the Jamaican bobsleigh team in one bar which, inevitably, attracted some very funny looks.
When I had got back from France, the Tigers boys boarded a bus for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
I am no expert on the nags but I had a very profitable trip coming back £400 to the good. Unfortunately, my girlfriend Jess has already spent all of that on some new dresses and, as women tend to do, spent a bit more on top!
It was a cracking laugh winning it though. My horses had bombed in the first couple of races before I got some luck thanks to A.P. McCoy.
Better was to come when my horse Salsify won the Foxhunter Chase. It was miles behind the leader Oscar Delta - but he unseated his rider near the line and Salsify just trotted past to earn me some more money.
As you could imagine, me and some of the other lads who had backed him were all buzzing as we went to collect our winnings.
We had a theme of tweed for the trip and some managed to carry it off better than others.
Niki Goneva ended up looking like Django from the new Quentin Tarantino movie ‘Django Unchained’, while Richard Thorpe looked the part a little too easily.
I think he’s got loads of tweed outfits in his wardrobe for his normal weekend wear.
We get back to the serious business of playing rugby against this weekend and our trip to Exeter is about as tough a trip as you get in the Premiership.
But it was nice to have a good break and a laugh and let my hair down a bit. It’s a long season and we don’t often get the chance to do things like that.
I don’t regret only having a few chances to go out or on stag weekends any more being a professional rugby player.
It some ways, only having a few of them makes it all the more special when you have one and, in the rugby community, people really make the effort to get involved when invited.
If it was something you did every week, people perhaps don’t make that effort because there is always next week.
I don’t think I’ll be dressing up as a Jamaican bobsleigher again for a while though.
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