Jigsaw: When I say ‘Dad’ what comes to mind for you?
Isaac: The first thing that pops into mind is probably responsibility. You’ve got another life or maybe a couple of lives that you’re in charge of and that you’ve got to nurture. You’ve got to comfort them, nurture them, feed them, clothe them and give them a roof over their head. And probably the most important thing is just love them, basically.
So when I say ‘Mum’ what comes to mind?
The boss! I’m like the 2.I.C. The Second in Charge. Mum’s the best. She’s number one in the household. She’s there [for Stanley] 24/7.
Your dad was an All Black and your mum was a Silver Fern. How much impact did they have on you?
Oh huge. I was blessed with pretty good genes and I was always interested in sport. They didn’t really push me into playing rugby; they just let me do what I was comfortable with. I played soccer, basketball, softball, tennis – heaps of different sports. It wasn’t until after school that I started to make the high rep [rugby] teams. They just gave me guidance and taught me the ways of the world and stuff like that. Basically where I am today is because of what they told me. Ability only gets you so far and you have to keep working to get higher and higher. My fiancé encourages me to better myself too, which is great.
It sounds like you’ve got support all around you…
Yeah definitely. I’ve always had a loving family and support crew whether it’s coaches or friends or other family members. Everyone’s been fully supportive of me the whole way and been by my side during the highs and lows. You get that in sport. The media can turn on you but there’s always that core of people who are always in your corner.
What would you say to other dads about how as an individual man you can pull yourself up after things get a bit tough?
You basically just have to look into the mirror and go back to your core values like who you are and where you want to go. If you’ve had a bad game you’ve just got to park it. There’s no such thing as the perfect game or the perfect world. The people around you are there to help but at the end of the day it’s you that has to do it. So just look in the mirror and say “This is who I am, I can do it.”
How do you hope to be a good dad to Stanley?
With Stanley I’ll be taking a leaf out of my parents’ book. There’ll be a lot of pressure for him to perform as a rugby player. He’s now got two generations [of rugby players] before him. He can be a violinist…Basically he can be whatever he likes and we’d support him the whole way.
Back extra-ordinary dad interview main page