All Black Piri Weepu, 29, grew up in Wainuiomata but 18 months ago made the move to Auckland to play for the Blues. This month, the father of three was dropped from the national side.

1. How did it feel watching the All Blacks run out on to the pitch in Sydney at the weekend?

It was okay. It was good to watch. I'm just trying to do my bit here where I am and there's no point in me crying about it or not supporting our team. Yep, Aaron [Smith] had a good game. Stephen [Luatua] did too. Although I did see him walking a couple of times. Ha. The three young guys [halfbacks] they've got in the side are all talented players. TK [Tawera Kerr-Barlow] should have been in the team last year. I was lucky to get selected then.

2. How do you cope with failure, or rejection?

Just by doing things that get you in a better frame of mind. Like talking to family, people that are important, and go from there. I was pretty low after missing out on the World Cup in 2007. I was gutted. Took me about three days to get over it. I think it took everyone else in my family a lot longer. It just gives me more motivation to prove people wrong.


3. When everyone was wearing "Keep Calm Piri's On" T-shirts in the 2011 World Cup, how calm were you?

I was pretty relaxed really. Right up until the final. I don't really get stressed - not much point. If I've prepared well enough during the week where I know what my role is and all the moves, then I'm fine. I don't have anything to worry about. The day of the final though was so slow. It was a 9pm game so just trying to fill in time before it was hard. I had a bit of a niggly injury too. That was the only time I haven't been relaxed before a game.

4. Dan does underwear. Richie does houses. Carlos Spencer did Toffee Pops. What ad campaign would you be best in?

McDonald's - nah! Probably something hunting or fishing.

5. What was your childhood like?

It was rich. Not in terms of money. I never had the flashest things in the world but I made do with what I was given. I had the best support in my mum and dad. Dad's a pretty mellow guy and there was a lot of sport. Dad was a pretty good league player and mum played softball, netball and rugby league. She and her two sisters played league. There was a lot of league in our house. We lived in the same area as my cousins and I spent lots of my time at my grandparents' house. I went to boarding school at Te Aute College. I never really wanted to go. I wanted to stay home. I was a father's boy.

6. Was it hard leaving Wellington for Auckland?

Definitely. I didn't want to leave home. I was supposed to drive up here and leave early one morning but I didn't leave until about 1pm. The whole drive up I was like 'I don't want to be on the road'. I didn't hate Auckland, I just hated being away from my family. But I've got accustomed to it now. Got my favourite places. I like Shaky Isles and Circus Circus cafes, Boxing Alley, Ludus Magnus gym, Wildfire restaurant, Mercury Plaza for Asian. I've never been sick from there.

7. Describe the perfect meal.

Christmas Day, 6am lighting the fire, getting the irons hot to have a hangi for the family. All my younger cousins and nephews come down to learn how to do it so when I get to an age where I don't have to do it, they can.

8. When are you happiest?

When I'm free-diving or when I'm with my kids. I love just being with my kids. The hardest thing with them was letting them sleep in their own bed. I'd rather have cuddles with them. My eldest Keira used to sleep in my arms all the time. You'd get a bit of dead arm.

9. Who is the best rugby coach you've had?

Wayne Smith. If you talk to anyone who's worked with him they'd say that. He loves his job and he's very passionate about it and he does a lot of work. He's hardly ever angry but when you do get him mad it's not a pretty sight.

10. Who's your sporting hero?

Wally Lewis. It would have to be league and he's the king. My first year in the All Blacks, 2004, I made a big mistake by stating the obvious in an interview. I said I'd always wanted to be a Kiwi and play for the New Zealand league side. This was just after I was selected and people didn't like me saying that. [All Black management] had a talk to me about it. I said to them 'I'm only young mate'. I was 20. I just didn't know what to say in interviews and that was the truth.

11. Do you get out to party much?

A bit more now than I used to. I've been a bit conservative with a few things over the years but I'm learning to enjoy life a bit more now. It's hard to find the time, though. I don't drink a lot during the season. I'm quite a shy person too and don't like to put myself out to meet total strangers. I'm trying to, though.

12. Japan or Europe?

I've never been to Japan. I have been to Europe and I quite like France. I fell in love with Rome. Just all that history. I guess when it's time to retire here I'd play overseas. I've been considering it. But there's a bit of game left in me yet.