IN TOUCH: Connacht RaboDirect PRO12 Ambassador Michael Swift

Guinness PRO12 Editor

16 Nov 2012


Flanker Michael Swift is the most capped player of all time for Connacht having turned out more than 220 times for the Galway club.

Made club captain ahead of this season’s RaboDirect PRO12, the 35-year-old was named man of the match in his side’s epic 34-6 humbling of Heineken Cup champions Leinster.

Here he tells us why he’s known as ‘Big Steve’ and how Mike McCarthy’s mum saved him from a revolting superstition.

What are your nicknames?
Swifty and Big Steve. All the young lads know me as Swifty now but I was called Big Steve for about ten years. I was training in a gym and chatting to this lad for ages and then when we departed he said ‘see you later Steve’. I have no idea why he thought I was called Steve.

If you weren't playing rugby what would you want to be?
A philanthropist. That would mean I have a lot of money but I don’t know what I would do I was just trying to be clever. If I had to do something I would start my own business so I wouldn’t be reliant on someone else.

Who are your rugby heroes?
Growing up I loved Zinzan Brooke. I remember seeing him hit a huge drop-goal and I was just shocked because he was a No.8. I ended up in a taxi with my dad and Simon Geoghegan as well so I really liked him as well.

Who has been your best ever roommate?
I have to say Mike McCarthy who I always get put with at the moment – I don’t know if they think I am a calming influence on him. He always accuses me of snoring though and has even bought earplugs although I don’t think they work.

Who's your gym buddy?
It has to be Adrian Flavin because he is quite vain and always sticks around for a bit of extra gun work at the end of the day.

Which rugby player would you least like to meet down a dark alley?
Definitely Johnny O’Connor because he is always angry and he knows how to handle himself.

What are your guilty 'diet' pleasures?
Marks and Spencer white chocolate cookies. I’ve just bought some for the weekend. I told my mum I liked them so she constantly gets them for me now.

What are your hobbies outside rugby?
I like to go to the movies. I organised a team day out to go watch Argo. We were given free food and the lads took advantage of the pick and mix. They were walking in with handfuls of the stuff.

What newspaper do you read?
I only ever read The Sunday Times. I like the travel section because we get a lot of rain in Galway and it reminds me of warmer climates – and that is true!

Who is your favourite rugby pundit?
There aren’t many if I am honest. I used to like Bill McLaren when I was growing up but I can’t say we’re particularly friendly with any of the Irish pundits nowadays.

Do you have any superstitions?
The left lace always goes first and I constantly check to make sure my socks are rolled up to hide my skinny legs. A new one was Mike McCarthy would wipe his nose on my shirt before every scrum. But his mum saw it on TV and told him off so he doesn’t do it anymore which I was happy about.