Marty Holah

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"It's not about whether you win or not, it's about testing yourself and being involved in a team," says the Ospreys flanker.

Raise Your Game: How dedicated are you in training?

Marty Holah: Pretty dedicated. I believe it's important to not only train hard with the trainers and coaches, but to also set personal goals that you work on in your own time. That's worked really well for me throughout my career.

RYG: Describe today's training for us.

MH: Today's training involved skills and fitness conditioning. It was a tough session, because it involved a lot of running and was quite physical. It also involved using your skills while you're really tired, which is important. It's one thing to be able to pass the ball 10 times out of 10 to the right spot, but to do it when you're tired is when it matters.

RYG: How hard is it to stay motivated when you're really tired?

MH: That's the difference between a good player and an outstanding player. The best players can push themselves that little bit extra. They're the players that always seem to pop up at the end of a line to score a winning try, or throw a crucial pass. They're the guys that stand out and become truly great players.

RYG: Who inspired you?

Profile

Name:
Martin Rowan Holah

Born:
10 September 1976

From:
Hamilton, New Zealand

Game:
Rugby Union

Position:
Flanker

Height:
1.83m / 6'

Weight:
102kg / 16.1 stone

Team:
Ospreys

International:
New Zealand All Blacks

Previous Club:
Waikato Chiefs (2001 - 2007)

Achievements:

  • 36 New Zealand All Blacks Test caps
  • Air New Zealand Cup Winner (2006)

MH: Duane Monkley played outside flanker for the Waikato team in New Zealand. He really inspired me. His defence and play around the field were pretty outstanding. He's probably one of the unluckiest men not to get an All Black jersey. He deserved it. I admired him for the way he was on the field, but he was such a humble, nice guy off the field as well. I really admired him for that.

RYG: How hard is it to get an All Black jersey?

MH: It's a pretty tough thing to do. It's become a little bit easier to attain with the bigger squads these days, and the rotation of players, but it's still something special. When you see someone play their first All Black game, and get their first jersey, you can sense it still means the same to the players. I think it still means the same to the public as well, which is awesome.

RYG: What makes your game really special?

MH: I'm not too sure my game is really special (laughs). I suppose the biggest part of my game is my work rate. I'm not the most skilful player in the world, but I work on my game, and make it tough for other teams to give quick ball. I just try and work really hard around the contact area.

RYG: How do we get young people in Wales to want to participate in sport and improve their fitness?

MH: You pray to God and ask for some sunshine! (Laughs). It seems to be a bit of a world trend. People are becoming less and less physical. They're sitting inside watching TV and playing video games.

When I was growing up I had three older brothers. To go outside and play sport was the only thing I really wanted to do. It's not about whether you win or not, it's about testing yourself and being involved in a team. That gives you something special that you don't get sitting in front of a computer screen, playing computer games. Get outdoors, be competitive with your mates and enjoy their company.

RYG: What's been the highlight of your career so far?

MH: My All Black debut. That was pretty special. Winning the New Zealand Cup in 2006 was also great.

RYG: What was your All Blacks debut like?

MH: It was pretty scary to be honest. I only just made the 2001 team, and went straight into the All Blacks, so it was a bit of a jump up. I felt that I was a bit out of my league, so it was frightening. We played against Western Samoa. They've got some pretty big boys and there were some hard hits being made. I didn't really feel that I participated much in the game, but it was a very proud moment. I put in a lot of hard work, and had years of encouragement from my family to help me get there, so it was special just to be on the field.

RYG: And the lowlights?

MH: Every time you lose, or you don't play to your potential is a lowlight. The good thing about this game is there's always a game next week, where you get a chance to prove yourself again.

RYG: What's it like playing for the Ospreys?

MH: The set-up is pretty special. We've got great facilities in which to test ourselves. The people involved with the team are pretty special too. The guys all get on very well and are very welcoming. There are a lot of big names in the squad, with some of the guys being involved with the Welsh team, but everyone is down to earth. No-one bosses other people around. We have a nice, cohesive unit which is something I've been used to throughout my career in New Zealand.

RYG: Are you motivated better by the carrot or the stick?

MH: To be honest, I'd say neither. I think it's me that motivates me the most. I'm not a person that needs someone tapping me on the shoulder, telling me to exercise. I'm the first person to put my hand up if I need to do extra work on areas of my game.

RYG: What are your goals for the future?

MH: I'm at the tail end of my career. I see myself retiring here in the next couple of years. My goals for the future would be to stay part of this team, and to try and be successful. I also want to help some of the younger guys coming through like Ben Lewis. Helping him with his game would be a nice added bonus to finish up here at the Ospreys.

RYG: What would you like to be remembered for in rugby?

MH: Just as a good guy. As someone who got on with most people, worked hard, played hard and didn't let anyone down.


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