Fame and Glory comes with success and like money can change individuals. I know a lot of people from the sporting world and they are celebrities in my country. I played with loads of players that were involved with the provincial and national set up and never took notice of them any differently as I played with them.
One of my old team mates John Allan handing out prizes and good to see him still involved. He was my hooker who would always come down to practice no matter what was on his playing schedule.
When I was playing club rugby we never knew the make up of the side quite often until late in the week as we never knew who was allowed to play or not. The Sharks team used to rest players between provincial and Super 14 matches and unfortunately our team had quite a few.
When you have a team of 15 first choice players and 6 or 7 are being called up for provincial duty it kind of puts pressure on the rest of the team. When a teamloses it's centers, a flyhalf now the Scotland coach plus our hooker who knew all the lineout calls and how high we could jump. These are the heartbeat of a team and you can't just replace them. There were a few others who were in and out of the provincial set up and normally came back worse for wear and we couldn't use them anyway.
The first season I played it was an eye opener as you don't realise how big a squad you need to cover for the downtime of these players. I must admit our hooker who was played for Scotland and South Africa was available more than most of the others even though he was playing in every game.
The thing that gets me is that I knew them and they didn't change who they were even though people recognized them on the street. I can remember being at Twickenham when the team arrived and I was walking past with my family when two of the players shouted out a hello to me and we had a quick chat. They were buddies of mine and more down to earth than most people. They didn't walk around with airs and graces like some I came across.
I was in the bank a while ago and there was a queue and I recognized one of the South African players. I know him fairly well and he is a like able person but he has an attitude. When he got to the teller girl something wasn't going to plan for him and his first words were "do you know who I am ?." He raised his voice and made a scene instead of maybe asking for her supervisor. This is what I call bully boy tactics and taking your fame too far. This was the real person coming out and have seen it more than once as they bully there way to get whatever they want.
My opinion never changed on him and still think he is a prized twat, but the guys I knew and played with were some of the nicest people you could ever meet.If I saw them in the street tomorrow it would be like old times and that is how it should always be.