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Page last updated at 09:20 GMT, Friday, 3 July 2009 10:20 UK

Martyn Williams answers your questions

Martyn Williams
By Martyn Williams
Wales and Lions flanker

Q: Mr Williams, do you have any specific music you listen prior to a match? Also, I've heard 'Powerade and vodka' is a popular beverage with some players - what is your favourite 'post-match cocktail'?

AC/DC stars Brian Johnson and Angus Young
AC/DC help get Martyn going before a game

A: When we are with Cardiff Blues, "Melon" (Gethin Jenkins) is in charge of the music which tends to be mostly dance. With Wales and the Lions there is no actual music in the changing-room, and I have an iPod on.

I'm pretty old school really, I tend to like a bit of rock - anything from AC/DC to Linkin Park.

As for the post-match drink, I have to say that I've never heard of Powerade and vodka. But when we do drink, I'm quite happy with a good old-fashioned bottle of beer. If I did have a cocktail, vodka, lime and soda is pretty low in calories, and you don't suffer from as much of a hangover the next day!

Q: It's been a long season, especially for those involved in the Lions squad. How long of a break do you get until training begins again, and how will you spend this time?

A: It varies for every player. The Welsh boys have got five weeks off which is brilliant, but I know some of the English boys have maybe got only three weeks. I am going on holiday with my family for two weeks to the south of France.

But you can't actually go five weeks without training. In my third week off, I will probably start preparing for pre-season to get the body ready. If you just rock up after doing nothing for five weeks, it kills you.

It's nice to do some training on your own and not have to be a particular place at a specific time. The amazing thing is some of the Cardiff lads started pre-season last week, and we haven't finished this one yet!

Q: Many people have described the Lions as an out-dated concept. How would you describe the Lions experience and what it means to you?

A: That couldn't be further from the truth. Ask any player who has been on this trip, it is the highlight of your career.

Lions fans
The Lions tour is still a huge draw for British and Irish rugby fans

The day you are named in the squad is one of the best feelings you have as a sportsman, and the highest accolade you can get as a British player.

I know we haven't been too successful of late, and it is difficult in the modern game. But hopefully the concept will go from strength to strength.

It is one everyone should fight as hard as they can to keep going, especially when you see the support it brings.

Q: Do you feel that when the next Six Nations comes around, you will employ a different outlook on how to handle certain players, like Tom Croft for example, who you have toured with?

A: You do have an insight into players a bit more, and pick up little strengths and weaknesses on them, and vice-versa.

But the next Six Nations will be an age away. There will be so much rugby played before then, that you tend to forget.

Q: What are the Springboks like after the game? Are they as arrogant and ruthless as they sometimes seem in the game?

A: We haven't really had much to do with them yet, because after the first two Tests we have pretty much gone straight back to the hotel. But there is a big dinner after Saturday's Test, so we should have more of a chance then.

Schalk Burger
Schalk Burger is a gentle giant off the pitch

But from previous experience, they are really nice people. Obviously they want to win on the field, but I have met guys like Schalk Burger and John Smit a couple of times, and they are gentlemen.

Once the game has finished, we forget about it and move on. The week before I played with the Baa-Baas in London, we went out a couple of times and Burger was a top guy, an absolute gentleman. So I was very surprised by what he did last week.

It was a heat-of-the-moment thing that he probably regrets. I am sure if he had his time again, he wouldn't have done it.

Q: In all honesty, how motivated is the squad for the up-coming Test? I appreciate that it is fighting for the honour of the squad but how does the atmosphere compare with the previous two Tests?

A: It was obviously deflating in the early part of the week, It really sunk in on Monday and Tuesday that we had lost the series, but Geech named the side on Wednesday and we spoke as a group.

Lions start is career highlight - Williams

We have worked so hard on this tour, and hopefully we have earned a lot of respect and credibility, so the last thing we want to do is go out with a whimper on Saturday.

We really want to stand up because for a lot of us it will be the last time we play in a Lions jersey, so there will be no lack of motivation.

It is still a Lions Test match, and with the side the Springboks have picked, a lot of players have been given an opportunity to prove themselves. It is going to be a full-on Test match.

Q: What next after this, Martyn? How much gas is there left in the tank? Are you planning to stick around for the next World Cup?
teddingtontaff and AudaciousBeaver

A: I hope so. At the moment that is my long-term goal. I have enjoyed this season and I think I have played fairly well. The body has a few niggles but you are always going to have those after such a long season.

I am contracted for the next two years, and Dai Young at the Blues, and 'Gats' [Warren Gatland] and Craig White with Wales have been phenomenal with me. I see no reason why I can't keep going until then, form and injury permitting.

Q: Have you personally had any fines on this Lions tour, and who has had the worst fine and what for?

A: I had one group fine, for being late I think, but I have been pretty good. Probably the worse fine was for Graham Rowntree. The fines committee fined him, for making up a ridiculous fine for all the forwards! I think that hit him in the pocket.

And Lee Byrne turned up wearing completely the wrong kit one day. I think it was 300 Rand per item of kit, and he had all four items wrong.

Q: What's been your personal highlight of the tour off the pitch so far?
quaerite primum the pub

Paul Stridgeon (left) holds court at a Lions pool session
Stridgeon (left) has made a big impact on the players in South Africa

A: Meeting and getting to know Paul Stridgeon, our conditioning coach. He has been brilliant. Whether we have won or lost he has been on top of the world all of the time, great fun and strong as an ox.

Three of the guys tried to wrestle him on Wednesday - Phil Vickery, John Hayes and Alun-Wyn Jones. Paul did well. He had 30 seconds with 'Vicks', 30 seconds with John, and by the time Alun-Wyn came in, he was absolutely exhausted, so I'd call it a draw!

Q: Are you allowed to drink alcohol on tour, and if so how much?

There are no restrictions. Everyone is professional enough to know that you'd be a fool to do anything that is going to affect you, because we have had quite short turnarounds between games, there is no way you can do it.

We have had a few social dinners with a few drinks, but they have been few and far between. But Saturday is the last game of a long season, so no doubt there will be a few beers sunk after that.

Martyn Williams was talking to BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer

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see also
Lions Test debuts for English duo
02 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
Martyn's delight at Lions start
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Martyn Williams column
29 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Martyn Williams column
25 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 28-25 Lions
27 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 26-21 Lions
20 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Martyn Williams column
08 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Martyn Williams answers your questions
04 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Martyn Williams column
01 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
2009 Lions: Squad & results
09 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
Lions squad selector
07 May 09 |  Rugby Union
History of the Lions
02 May 08 |  Rugby Union
Mighty Boks: South African rugby
01 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union

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