Alix Popham

Alix Popham. Copyright: Huw Evans Picture Agency

The Brive forward and Wales international says "Train hard, enjoy it and play as many sports as you can."

Raise Your Game: You're a player that isn't afraid to put your body on the line for your country - is it important to be committed?

Alix Popham: That's just my game. I like the physical side of things. There's no point going into contact halfheartedly because you usually come off second best if you don't give it your all. You've got to be committed. If you're not you pick up little bumps.

It's difficult when you're training because you're asked to only give it 50%. If someone hits you hard and you're only giving it 50%, that's when you get injured. It doesn't matter what game it is, I just try and do my best. You try to do the basics right, execute the game plan and everything else is a bonus. I just try and play my game.

RYG: You've played at number six and eight for Wales - what's your favourite position?

Profile

Name:
Alix Jon Popham

Born:
17 October 1979

From:
Newport, Wales

Height:
1.91m

Weight:
108kg

Game:
Rugby

Position:
Back Row

Clubs:
Brive (2008 - present)
Llanelli Scarlets (2005 - 2008)
Leeds Tykes (2002 - 2005)
Newport RFC (1998 - 2002)

Internationals:
Wales

Achievements:
25 Welsh caps

AP: It's different playing six and eight. At eight you do get more carries from receiving kick-offs. I prefer eight and I've never said any different.

RYG: Are there any areas of your game that you think could be improved?

AP: I think I can improve in every area of my game. You always look to make more tackles and more carries. If everyone in the team does that then the team's whole performance goes up.

RYG: There's a huge amount of pressure on anyone playing for Wales - how do you deal with that?

AP: You've got to concentrate in games and when you're training. You've got to do your video analysis. When you're away from rugby you've got to try to relax and to switch off. I take my iPod and watch movies and listen to music. You've got to try and get away from it. When it comes to the rugby you've got to switch on. I've been playing rugby since I was four, it's what I love.

RYG: What advice would you give to any youngsters out there wanting to be the next Alix Popham?

AP: Train hard, enjoy it and play as many sports as you can. The main thing is to enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it then there's not much point in doing it.


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