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PRA Q&A David Barnes

By Jamie Hunt.   Last Updated: 02/02/06 12:56pm

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We're back for January with the PRA Q&A where Rugby Union stars answer your questions.

This month it was Bath prop and new PRA Chairman David Barnes who you grilled, and below is what he had to say, about Bath, Brian Ashton and Jennifer Aniston.

In February, we will have another guest to answer your questions.

David, What the hell is going on at Bath? Brilliant in the Heineken Cup but awful in the Guinness Premiership. How do you explain the contrast in your performances? Mrs Diana Denman, Taunton.

David says:
Well it's difficult to say to be honest, we seem to have struggled in scoring tries at home but in the Heineken Cup it hasn't been a problem winning games. With last week's moral boasting win against Wasps hopefully things will turn around and we will start to gain some consistency in both tournaments. It would be good to move away from the relegation zone as quickly as possible.

Does the arrival of Brian Ashton at the Rec mean it is the end of the good old days of you and the Bath pack shoving everyone around in the mud? Some of us quite like our rugby like that, don't go giving the ball out to the girls in the backs all the time! Steve, Hinton Charterhouse.

David says:
Well Brian has tried to bring a new philosophy to the club. Although there might still be times when there is some shoving around in the mud, we are attempting to play a more expansive game. As I mentioned before tries have been hard to come by and we are wanting to address that.

I'd be interested to know your opinions on the Premiership playoff issues. Bath, Gloucester and Leicester have all beaten Wasps past the post but then lost in the final. I know that "we all knew the rules at the start" but do you think the rules are wrong, and were you even a little bit bitter on the day you lost to Wasps? Greg Sharp.

David says:
Well you're right Greg we all knew the rules at the start. I can only congratulate Wasps on three consecutive titles in a row. Possibly in the first year when they won, Gloucester where not properly prepared but the last two years for Bath and Leicester we have both known the title comes down to a final game. I do think that this system does allow for teams that commit a lot of players to international rugby time to catch up before the end of the season though.

Why do you think you have been consistently overlooked by England when you have been one of the most consistent performers as a prop for the past decade? Ian H, Oxford. Anon.

David says:
Well I was involved with England A back in 1997. I have been unfortunate to play alongside to fantastic loose head props in my career, Jason Leonard and now Andrew Sheridan. However I will never give up hope that I will get a chance and Perry Freshwater is testament to age now not being a factor in selection.

David, What's your take on Andrew Sheridan? I think he is an absolute beast and was exceptional for England in the autumn internationals? Is he the real deal and if you have scrummed down against him, what is it like? Katie P, Manchester.

David says:
He is an extremely strong player. You only had to watch the Australia game back in November to see the destruction he can cause. I think he will be a regular member of the England team for years to come.

  Are you enjoying your new position as Chairman of the PRA? Stuart, Surrey.

David says:
Yes I am enjoying the work and the responsibility that comes with the position. There is a lot of work do to as we continue to grow the services and protection we offer the members but I am enjoying keeping busy especially due to my present injury.

Curry or chinese? Beer or wine? Sun or ski? Book or DVD? Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston? Thanks. Charlie.

David says:
It's got to be curry, beer, sun, DVD and Jennifer Aniston surely!

  What is your opinion on the ongoing dispute between club and country? Do you think a solution is going to be found soon? Nigel, Lancashire.
David says: Well I think the only way this will ever be solved will be through a long term solution. We are working hard to try and get the two sides to continue their discussions and I am hopeful that a solution will be found shortly. For too long the interest in the game has been based around the politics and not the action on the pitch.

 Who is the toughest scrummager you have come up against and who has got the most to say when you are ready to pack down? Andy G, East London.

David says:
Well in my opinion there are two great scrummagers at tight head in the Premiership at the moment and they are Julian White and Cobus Visagie at Saracens. Both are extremely strong and you know you've been in a really battle by the end of the game! Regarding banter, Mark Regan always seems to have something to say. He thinks he's very funny, but he is not!

I hear you are a keen scuba diver. Where is the best place you have been diving and where would you most like to dive? Jules, Durban, SA.

Well Jules, I see you are from Durban and that is actually one of my favourite dive spots. I've dived with all types of sharks, rays and many other types of marine life. My other favourite place to dive is the Galapagos Islands. It is so remote and I managed to dive with killer whales, which was fantastic.

If you weren't a beefcake prop, what would you like to be doing? Kelly, Bath.
I would love to be teaching scuba diving in some paradise resort in the hot weather rather then dealing with all my current injuries as a prop forward!

Is there a front row union down at Bath? Do you, Matt Stevens, Lee Mears, Duncan Bell et al all go out and get into any mischief. Is Matt Stevens as good as he thinks he is on guitar and as a singer? Toby, London.

Yes front row players tend to stick together a bit. We go out for dinner once a fortnight as a front club in Bath, but it's not just only with your team mates. There is a friendship between most front row players as it is one of the only direct contact areas on a regular occasion with your opposite number.
Well Duncan Bell seems to think he is a bit of a joker but no one finds his pranks funny and Matt Stevens really is terrible on the guitar!


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