When Wales captain Matthew Rees was ruled out of the World Cup it looked like being a terminal blow to Warren Gatland’s side. But Ospreys hooker Huw Bennett stepped up and performed so well that upon Rees’ international return a fortnight ago, he had to settle for a place on the bench while Bennett kept his starting role.
Part of the Ospreys squad which has made a flying start to the RaboDirect PRO12 season and who currently find themselves in second, Bennett will be looking to add to the three league titles he already has to his name, the last two years ago in an upset win away to Leinster.
1. What’s the strangest Christmas gift you’ve ever received? It’s a bit too rude to mention so I’ll have to keep that one to myself. It’s in the bottom draw in the back room.
2. What’s your favourite thing about Christmas? The children’s faces leading up to it. We use the angel on top of the tree as the person who gives the messages to Father Christmas and whether they have been good or bad, that’s always good to use to keep them behaved. I’ve got three children, the eldest is 15, I don’t think he believes but the two youngest do and it’s a great time for them.
3. Tell us your all-time favourite Christmas movie? I know it’s not really a Christmas movie, but it’s always on around Christmas time and that’s Zulu. I always find myself falling asleep after the Christmas meal watching Zulu. That doesn’t make it sound like my favourite movie, but it’s always the one I find watching at Christmas time. I never get to the end though!
4. What’s your favourite Christmas song? Jingle Bells probably, just because I know all the words and I sing it with the kids.
5. What’s your worst-ever Christmas experience? I can’t really say I’ve had too many bad experiences at Christmas to be fair, there are no cooking disasters because we always go somewhere else.
6. What’s your favourite Christmas decoration? That would have to be a bauble. My wife’s nan is famous for collecting her baubles and putting them on the ceiling so if there’s any different ones we find we give them as a present.
7. Which RaboDirect PRO12 player would you like to have as your secret Santa? Alun Wyn Jones. He’s a closet internet shopper and he can find anything. Some of the Ospreys parties have been pretty enjoyable and the guys have partaken fully so we’re looking forward to this year’s.
8. Which RaboDirect PRO12 player would you invite around for Christmas Day? Well I wouldn’t invite Cai Griffiths because he’d eat all the food, so it would have to be one of the backs so I’d have to say Shane Williams, because there’s not much chance of him pinching my food.
9. If you were one of Santa’s reindeer, what would your name be? I’d have to say Rudolph, that’s the only one I know.
10. What’s the worst Christmas present you’ve been given? I seem to get a cooking book every year. Although you have every intention to use them when you first see them, they just seem to collect dust.
11. Which rugby player in the RaboDirect PRO12 would make the best Santa? Maybe Ian Gough before he shaved his beard off, or if Duncan Jones was able to grow a beard I’d say him.
12. What’s been your highlight of 2011? The World Cup was great but being back here with the boys at Ospreys and seeing us do so well is also up there.