Wales star Non Evans writes a regular column for rwcwomens.com in the countdown to Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 and now takes her turn in our 60 seconds with ... hotseat.
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Non, what was your first rugby experience?
I used to go with my Father to watch the Swansea All Whites. My first experience of playing would be when I went to University in Cardiff. When I was young there was no girl's or women's rugby for youngsters like there is now, so in the first week I heard there was a women's rugby team, I went along, joined up and have never looked back.
Your first match?
It would be for UWIC (University of Wales Institute, Cardiff), which is where probably 90 percent of the Welsh girls have come from. I remember loving it. I didn't have the skills, but I had done Judo since a very young age so I was used to contact and I could tackle as it's actually a Judo throw philosophy.
What other sports have you played and to what level?
I have two Commonwealth Games silver medals in Judo and I was the Welsh and British champion for seven or eight years. My last Games was in 2002 when I also competed in the weightlifting and became the first to compete in two different sports at the same Games. I won the silver in 1994 and 1998.
When did you know that Rugby was what you wanted to be involved in?
From the day I picked up a ball. I was a natural running with the ball and the side step and was quite fast and loved the physical side. My first cap was in 1996, so it was in 1994 I started playing and I have never stopped and have loved it from the first minute I played and I only wish I could have started playing earlier.
What part of training do you dread the most?
I don't really. I love everything about it, I love training and I love the contact. One thing that does irritate me most is when in training coaches will tell you to take the hit to set up the next play and there is a 6ft 1, 15 stone girl in front of me and that is something I would never do in a match, I would run or side step around. But they say you must run into her to set up contact for a particular drill. I could get hurt. That does annoy me a little bit. I love all the physical stuff, I love contact, I love skills training. I love training, I'm a bit of a training freak!
Do you have a pre-match routine or any superstitions?
I always go out to practice my kicking as I kick during the match. I have to get the match balls, check they have the right pressure, I'm a bit meticulous about that. One thing I do that seems ridiculous is that after warming up in whatever kit we have, I like to change everything I have on, including underwear, ready for the match. I have to put totally fresh kit on before running out.
What do you like to eat before a match?
I tend to have a late big breakfast, porridge and toast. I don't like eating things that repeat on you. I will have energy drinks and always have cereal bars in my bag and bananas. I probably don't eat enough, but I don't like to feel full during a match.
What do you like to do outside of rugby?
I don't have a lot of time for anything else with all the training and playing rugby and going to work! I live in Cardiff and there is a mountain near to my house and if I am happy or sad I love to run or walk to the top of the mountain and get a panoramic view of Cardiff, the Brecon Beacons and down towards Swansea. I love it up there. I also like shopping for clothes, retail therapy when you're down!
Do you have any training tips for young women aspiring to make it in the game?
Just training hard and if you are the fittest, strongest and most skilful you will be the best player you can be. One thing with some girls is they don't go out and practice their skills because people tend to work on fitness, not on skills. The more time you spend with a ball in your hands and playing with it, the better player you will be. Train like you play and put 100 percent into it.
What do you think Rugby has over other sports?
Rugby is the most team-orientated game in the world. You can't do anything in Rugby without your teammates. Without the forwards there would be no platform to get the ball. I played a few games of Rugby League and it seemed to be more individual. It is the biggest team sport, everyone plays and then you have great camaraderie with your teammates.
Who is going to win the Women's Rugby World Cup?
Hopefully Wales! I would like to think we can. Obviously the favourites are England going in but the dark horses are France, it depends how they travel as they don't always travel that well. New Zealand have won the last three World Cups so they are probably the front runners, but I would like to think Wales are outsiders. If you look at betting odds, if there are any, I think England would have short odds, but New Zealand and France would have good odds too.
Who are your sporting idols and why?
I have always admired Roger Federer because he goes very quietly about his work, you don't see him out like the David Beckhams of this world. His attitude, he doesn't show off or get angry, he doesn't grunt or shout, just goes about it quietly and is the best in the world. When I was younger, my favourite player was Ieuan Evans, the Wales winger. I loved the way he played for Llanelli and Wales, his side step. He was the Shane Williams of today I guess.
Your best sporting memory?
The highlight of playing for Wales would have to be beating England last year in the Six Nations with the last kick of the game. It was something I will treasure forever. Probably one of my best experiences is I was picked to play for the World XV in 2003. I was picked at full back and we played two tests at Eden Park in Auckland against the New Zealand Black Ferns. That was brilliant, it was shown live on TV and it was such an experience to play for the best in the world against the best team in the world.
Your favourite film and book?
I don't do much reading. I can't remember a film I watched. One film I like is Shawshank Redemption, I think that is a really good film, but I'm probably not a film or book sort of person, I don't sit still long enough to read a book or watch a film, I'm a bit hyperactive!