Off the cuff and wall with Captain Cowan

Highlanders halfback Jimmy Cowan tackles one of rugby’s weirdest interviews. Mountain Scene’s own oddball Super 14 columnist Ben Perkins lobs him some up-and-unders

Ben Perkins: Bonjour!
Jimmy Cowan: Bonjour!
BP: This is no stitch up, you understand?
JC: I understand.
BP: Won’t be anything that’ll make you look bad. I respect you.
JC: Is that right mate?
BP: Nothing personal, but the defensive/offensive box kick over lineouts and scrums, I reckon it’s just about dead now because it gives the other team the ball within their goal-kicking range.
JC: A 28-metre kick’s a good kick because it’s contestable.
BP: I don’t reckon that many are 50-50.
JC: If the kick’s done right and the majority should be – because we’re professional – then it’s a 50 per cent chance.
BP: It’s going to be out of date very soon.
JC: You reckon?
BP: The New Zealand teams are looking too gym-fit and lacking pace. Getting the balance right between skills and gym muscles?
JC: We do a lot of running and team stuff on the field. We tend to be doing skills every day.
BP: I’m a big fan of South African Mark Lawrence as a referee.
JC: Hasn’t been that kind to us. He’s been terrible, I thought. He reffed us against the Stormers and I didn’t find him too good.
BP: I hate Aussie refs Stu Dickinson and Paul Marks. Those two are shockers.
JC: They’re doing the best that they can. It must be tough trying to referee 30 players.
BP: How hard is that, knowing the ref has just stitched you right up?
JC: You’ve got to show good body language and lead by example. No point getting frustrated. It’s probably a big part of my game that I’m learning.
BP: I reckon you could improve.
JC: Yeah, yeah.
BP: Girlfriend?
JC: No girlfriend.
BP: So you’re a player?
JC: Not a player either. I’ve been very quiet. One of the boys summed it up – I’m the battler.
BP: Ma’a Nonu – he looks pretty scary in that TV ad you do – comes across as being a very intimidating house partner?
JC: No, he’s not a bad bloke.
BP: So he’d be an easy guy to live with you reckon?
JC: A delight – great cook, plenty of money, plenty of women.
BP: You’ve had a heap of number 10s in the last two seasons. Finding it difficult to keep changing?
JC: You’ve just got to go with it. We do plenty of work
throughout the week to get a combination. Makes no
difference to me who’s playing there.
BP: Off the record, who’d be your first choice?
JC: I can’t say that.
BP: After rugby, what dreams?
JC: Sitting back, drinking red wine, looking over Wanaka.
BP: The World Cup – which teams will make the top four?
JC: Too far away.
BP: French?
JC: They’ll all be tough.

Free parking close to game 

Extra paddock-sized parking space near Super 14 match venue the Events Centre has been made available to ease congestion on Saturday. 

Events Centre bosses have teamed up with adjoining landowner Remarkables Park to free up grassed reserve on nearby Lucas Place in Frankton. 

Traffic arriving to Queenstown from the south will be directed to turn right towards Lucas Place after crossing the Kawarau Bridge. From there, matchgoers will have a 10-minute walk past the airport and through Frankton Golf Course to the Events Centre. Event manager Karen Gemmell says it’ll ease pressure at the venue’s on-site carpark for patrons coming from Arrowtown’s direction – not to mention speed up departures once the game’s over, when traffic often slows to a crawl. 

Youngsters can meet their Highlanders heroes at a free Earnslaw Park BBQ tomorrow. Some of the team will available to share a snag from 1pm-2pm. Go dressed as your favourite player to win prizes.