Interview: Will Greenwood

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Will Greenwood is one of England’s greatest-ever rugby players. In a professional career that spanned 11 years and 55 international caps he established a reputation as an unsurpassed midfield creator. The second-highest international try-scoring centre of all time, he was an integral part of England’s victorious World Cup campaign of 2003. Since retirement Will has gone on to establish himself as one of the foremost voices in rugby media, a renowned analyst, and one of the most intelligent and entertaining characters in the game. He also founded SuperSkills Experiences alongside rugby legend Austin Healey, which offers a range of experiences from escorted trips to watch the Six Nations in Rome to active cricket, rugby, skiing and multi-sport breaks at hotels such as the Forte Village Resort in Sardinia. SuperSkills has just introduced a netball academy with ex-England captain Karen Atkinson and Greenwood promises there are more to come.

Where are your favourite and least favourite destinations?
My favourite has to be Italy. I grew up in Rome and have a real affection for the people and places, so Sardinia fits the bill perfectly. Least favourite would have to be somewhere with no open spaces, no freedom?|I’ve been very lucky and have visited some amazing places so it’s impossible to have a least favourite!

Where did you last go on holiday and where is your next trip?
The last place I went was a skiing trip to Sainte Foy in the French Alps and the next one is the? Forte Village Resort in Sardinia.

Can you tell us about something incredible and something awful that have happened while away?
There are plenty of memorable moments: one would be on an adventure holiday to Chamonix, France, where we saw a lynx on the mountain – the local guide had only seen one in 20 years! I’ve been on many overseas rugby tours, so not really a holiday as such but still an experience, so my awful moment was when I was knocked unconscious during the Lions tour to South Africa?|a scary moment.

Did you get much time to explore the destinations on rugby tours?
We did find time to travel around some of the areas we visited?|South Africa, New Zealand, Australia. I’ve been very fortunate to have had some wonderful travel experiences through my career.

How did being a professional sportsman affect your holidays? Were?you careful about what you ate, drank and the
activities you did?
Yes, especially when playing for England. It’s only recently that I’ve taken up skiing, which I now love, as I wasn’t able to ski while I was playing rugby.
Why did you choose to set up SuperSkills Experiences and the Rugby Academy at Forte Village?
It’s got the perfect facilities, and is all about family holidays, the ideal environment to coach children and to see them develop during their holiday, and it’s very rewarding for the parents too.

What do you enjoy doing with the family when you’re not coaching at Forte Village?
Going to watch my son playing sport, long dog walks, watching a movie?|spending time with my wife and three children.

Do your kids take part in the rugby academy or any of the other sports academies at Forte Village?
Yes, and they love it! The dancing with SuperSkills is another highlight and this year we’re going to introduce netball.

Which is your favourite thing about Forte Village as a family destination?
It gives children some freedom, there are so many activities to keep them entertained, incredible food?|happy kids equals happy parents!

Do you book through a travel agent when you go on holiday?
For any holiday that we at SuperSkills don’t offer then yes! It really would depend on the holiday, but it’s always good to go through the experts to make sure you get the most out of a trip.

What could an agent do to persuade you to try them out?
Expert knowledge is the key and getting to know what I want from a holiday and then making suggestions – that would work.

How important do you think it is that sport is part of a holiday?
Very! I cannot imagine a holiday without some kind of activity, it helps me to wind down and relax, and you don’t feel so bad about over-indulging in the restaurants.

Do people want to try new sports and activities on holiday?
Definitely, it’s a great opportunity to have a go in a relaxed environment, to see if it’s something they want to continue when they get home. We’ve certainly converted a few kids to playing rugby!

Will Greenwood will be joined by Austin Healey and Martin Johnson at SuperSkills Rugby Academies at Forte Village Resort this year. Aimed at children aged five to 16, the academies use expert training to enable every individual to grow in skill and confidence. Dads can also take part in a ‘Father’s match’ and dinner with the legends. Academies are taking place in May, August and three in July.
For more, go to superskillsexperiences.c