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30 Minutes with… Sale Shark Josh Charnley

Shark attack: Sale's Josh Charnley tests the Saracens defence. Photo: Getty Images Rugby World

Sale Sharks wing Josh Charnley talks rucks, Robinson and his ram's head tattoo


What’s been the hardest thing to learn going from league to union?

The ruck – both the rules and how to do it. I’ve been watching clips but I try to stay out of rucks!

Who’s the biggest joker at Sale?

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Sam Tuitupou. And Ross Harrison.

Any practical jokes you can share?

Micky Mac (Mcilorum) at Wigan was always up to stuff. He’d wrap cars in cling film or put fish in air vents.

Do you have any phobias?

I’m scared of heights. If I go up a tall building you won’t catch me looking over the edge.

Warriors spirit: Wigan's Dan Sarginson and Josh Charnley celebrate winning the Super League final. Photo: Getty Images Rugby World

Got any superstitions?

When I scored a try for Wigan, I’d tap my foot outside the line and tap the corner flag, then step on the pitch. It helped me focus for the restart.

What about bugbears?

Messy people. I’m quite OCD about that.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

Against Wakefield, I tried to trap a pass under my foot. It rolled straight underneath.

Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Richard Branson. He seems a good bloke and I’d like to know how he goes about things.

What’s the silliest thing you’ve bought?

A fake pair of breasts. It was for a fancy-dress party and I was going to go as a woman, but in the end I went as something else.

Stage show: Jennifer Lopez performs in Singapore. Photo: Getty Images Rugby World

Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?

Jennifer Lopez, because I fancy her. Steve Jobs, to find out about his role. And Arnie Schwarzenegger for his films.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Watching Keeping up with the Kardashians. My missus watches it.

What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind?

I’m not that clever! Probably fishing. I once caught a huge pike. Me and an ex-Wigan team-mate had it on the scales on the bank but it kicked and slipped back in the river. So I don’t know its weight but it was over 20lb.

What would represent success for you in union?

To prove people wrong. When I signed for Sale I had a lot of, not hate mail but people being negative against me. Mainly rugby league fans. We can all be brave behind a keyboard.

That was some tackle you did to stop Sarries’ Richard Wigglesworth scoring against you…

You have to put your body on the line. Wiggy has been to a few Wigan games and I stay in touch with him and Owen Farrell.

Running man: Jason Robinson in action during the 2003 World Cup final. Photo: Getty Images Rugby World

Who was your hero growing up?

Jason Robinson. He was in the same position as me at Wigan. I spoke to him recently at a do for Mark Cueto.

What would you do if you weren’t a pro rugby player?

I’m a qualified bricklayer. I did a three-year apprenticeship and worked for a company in Chorley called GW Groundwork. But I had to pack it in when I got in Wigan’s first team.

We’ve noticed you’re not averse to the odd tattoo…

Yeah, I like the pain, I find it soothing. I’ve got a swallow on my hand for my granddad, rosary beads for my nan. The biggest one is a ram’s head on my belly that took six hours.

This article first appeared in the February 2017 edition of Rugby World. For the latest subscription offers, click here.

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