Having seen teammate Bradley Davies return from the Six Nations with the Grand Slam in tow, Cardiff Blues lock Macauley Cook admits he has high international hopes of his own after bursting onto the RaboDirect PRO12 scene this year.
The former Wales Under-20 captain faces a battle with Davies for a permanent place in the Blues line-up but far from shirking the challenge the Treorchy-born youngster is desperate to prove his worth.
Indeed during Davies’ absence during the Six Nations and then through a subsequent suspension, Cook was able to play in five straight RaboDirect PRO12 matches and lasted the full 80 minutes against the Dragons, Scarlets and Warriors.
Suddenly the 20-year-old’s dream of following Blues academy teammates Alex Cuthbert and Harry Robinson into the senior Welsh set-up no longer seems so farfetched and here we find out what Cook’s recipe is for success on and off the field is.
The most famous person I have met is probably Gavin Henson, during his time at the Blues. Outside of rugby it would be Max Boyce, he’s a singer and he did a bit of stand-up comedy and a Rhondda School dinner last year.
In terms of my rugby heroes I’d have to say Bradley Davies wouldn’t I? I’m rather forced into it but he has a great physical presence and is a big ball carrier. He’s someone I have learnt a lot of and hope to follow in his footsteps.
My best roommate has been Rheon James, who is with the Scarlets. I stayed with him in the Junior World Championships and he was good as gold. He’s a big boy though, we used to call him the bull because he’s massive.
The best away venue I have played at is probably the RDS Arena, where I came off the bench. The atmosphere was phenomenal when we visited in November in the RaboDirect PRO12.
The best thing about being a second row is the fact you are always involved in the game, whether that be in the scrum, lineout or just tackling. It is just action all the way – no standing around for things to happen.
I hope my coaches aren’t reading this but my guilty diet pleasure is chocolate digestives. When I come home I’m partial to a few of them.
My ultimate idea of rugby happiness is representing my country. Anyone growing up in Wales would say the same I think. It’s the biggest sport in the country and I was lucky enough to captain Wales at Under-20 level which was a huge honour.
I actually started off on the wing and as I started getting bigger and bigger I made my way towards the forwards. I first picked up a rugby ball when I was about five-years-old and just really enjoyed playing and ended up Treorchy rugby club in the older age groups.
Lose Yourself by Eminem would be my personal theme tune if I could pick any. I listen to it on my iPod before every game and it gets me fired up every time.
The thing I love most about rugby is getting your hands on the ball in your hands and running. It’s just a great sport to watch and be involved in, and I am thankful for the opportunity I have to be involved in it on a daily basis.