Todd Clever 3X Rugby World Cup Player Interview By Rugby Nation
How Todd Clever got into Rugby
What it's like to play rugby at the Pro level
The importance of writing down your goals
The key to reaching your goals
The rugby culture
Rugby players that inspired him
How important proper and qualified Strength & Conditioning training is to a rugby athlete
About the new and improved version of Rugby X, Rugby Nation's Strength & Conditioning program that launches soon. Who is involved and what you can expect
00:03Hi. Welcome everybody to Rugby Nation.
00:07Got Todd clever here. The legend, aka Captain America.
00:13Excited to have you here and interviewing you.
00:21Last time I saw you. It was at your house you let me stay with you at your house and showed me around and it was you have a beautiful place. And your town is beautiful. Have you been fairing here during the corn team.
00:37Yeah, I mean, it's a, it's kind of unfair, you know, for, for just because of some people kind of suffering and
00:43myself having a, you know, kind of, I live off the land, have a couple chickens, you know, have get their eggs every day have a garden get all my herbs and vegetables.
00:54Have a pool in the backyard and this just down the street from the beach. So it's been a pretty good place to be locked down
01:00So I'm definitely you know grateful and thankful for that, you know, to spend a lot of time with the daughter.
01:06Girlfriend. You know, close, close family, but other than that haven't really spent too much time now outdoors or in in it anything. So it's been been pretty good. And again, you're always welcome to come back.
01:21And appreciate it. Yeah, it was a lot of fun. Next time I want to try the longboard and see if I can if I can catch a wave.
01:30Um, you know it's you know when when we had a chance to chat a little bit
01:38I was really impressed by your story of how you found rugby.
01:43What inspired you to continue and in the goals that you set in the goals that you reached
01:50I think it would be, I think, the Rugby nation audience would love
01:56To share that story again, would you mind scenario.
01:59Yeah, I mean, I'll go through the bullet points and, you know, feel free to interrupt me but
02:04Yeah, I mean, you know, I started playing rugby in San Jose, California and just kind of followed my, my brother's footsteps, you know, either as a young boy, you know, follow them into soccer and a swim up treehouses up the hill, things like that and
02:20You know, he started playing rugby and you know I wasn't really interested in it too much, but
02:27But he went on the tour and he came back with you know pictures and stories of sort of his travels and man. That sounds. Sounds like a fun time. And the next year when I was getting into high school
02:40The team was going to go on tour as well and the team was going over to to England for two weeks and play two games. The rest of the time is going to check out castles.
02:50You know, stay in hostels stay in the other teams houses and everything else and
02:56And just kind of like odd sounds great wanted to be part of it. And my parents actually, you know, so all credit to them as they now will sponsor your trip will pay for your trip.
03:07But you have to convince to to be in a good teammate. So you have to go to every practice and you have to go to every game and be a good teammate so so that's a pretty good, you know, fair trade. So, you know, that was, that was a deal we made and and you know I fell in love with the sport.
03:25You know off the field, more so than I did on the field, just with experience of global and my whole
03:32You know, being in what I wanted to do was travel the world and see different cultures and and experience different food and meet people.
03:41And, you know, that was my Avenue. So, you know, I took. I took took to that road and and ultimately found out, you know, the better. I gotta rugby, the more places I got to travel more team like to join.
03:54So you know I played rugby for a couple years before I even knew that there was a professional sport. I thought it was a club sport all around the world.
04:01pay to play and, you know, kind of, you know, stay in hostels or stay with the other teammates. I just didn't know and
04:08After a couple seasons, you know, got introduced to high performance rugby.
04:13And that's when that's when my, you know, my goal setting started you know I've made my short term goals, my long term goals.
04:20And, and, ultimately, you know, felt good taking those boxes off and and knew that, you know, with a lot of hard work and extra work from just the team stuff individuals individual stuff or it was able to make it.
04:40You know, for anybody watching and anybody who's interested in and taking it to that level and being professional I'm you've played Pro for
04:50Sevens several teams around the world. You've played in three World Cups.
04:58What do you think are the most
05:01Important qualities are important traits that somebody needs to build or or create within themselves or something that that it's a must to be able to to reach those kind of goals.
05:16Yeah, I mean, first of all, you got to have that dream, you know, and that belief.
05:21And then, and then I would say, you know, putting pen on paper writing down those goals. And, you know, because you know it's talk is pretty cheap. You know, I've had a lot of teammates or have
05:33You know with business and everything else, you know, people can talk your ear off saying what they're doing. But what are they actually doing.
05:40So, so my thing would be belief setting goals and and really you know going after and finding their avenues.
05:49You know, I was when I was coming up from eighth grade us and nineteen's to college. All Americans to, you know, overseas CONTRACTS TO THE EAGLES into World Cups.
06:00There wasn't a pathway for anybody to make it so what I did. You know, I watched rugby on TV.
06:07And I just kind of motor, the player. I wanted to be, you know, and I was like, okay, I want to be that number six. And I want to be that number eight. So I kind of just mold of their styles into my style. And that's, you know,
06:21The tools that the, you know, kids have these days with YouTube and sort of highlight videos and coding and everything else. You got to use those for your advantage.
06:32To really, you know, get that extra step because you know
06:36I wanted to be physical, I wanted to be great at the breakdown. I also wanted to be a running rugby rugby player. So it's like, Okay, how can I be a wing
06:46flanker and this eight man, sort of, you know, it all matched and and and it really helped me playing sevens and 15th. You know, I really use sevens game into my 15th of wide open vision skills.
07:01Running lines and explosiveness. And then when I was playing sevens. I use my 15th physicality breakdown work.
07:08You know, being a strength in the floor in the four pack, there's three of us, but in the forwards. So um so ultimately you know I never I was never a complete player. I was always trying to, you know,
07:21sharpen my tools that that was going to be off field in the video, like in front of a computer TV doing it or if I was you know out on the field doing extra work because you know
07:33I understand that you know there's programs given from, you know, coaches and and offseasons and everything else that was that's when I work the hardest was offseasons when I wasn't with the team. You know, I was able to sort of really
07:46Focus on on my body and I have a great you know a personal trainer that that from offseasons helped me, you know, succeed and take those next steps forward and i mean you know him as well. Ryan Gallop and he is is come up with rugby x
08:03Program that that is brilliant for young boys and girls to to take that next initiative to go forward.
08:11So awesome. Tell me, so you've played and and sevens professionally. Let's talk a little bit about some of the players that inspired you, on and off the field and maybe their work ethic.
08:25And then we'll jump into strength and conditioning and how important that is for somebody who has those aspirations and who wants to do.
08:33The better off the on the pitch. But so first of all, like players that really inspire you've played all around the world. I saw you play against the All Blacks and she got it. Oh, it was
08:44A really has been inspirational to see you.
08:50Just go toe to toe.
08:55And willing to tackle. Anybody willing to go up against anybody
09:02Any of the greats and and just, just go for it really was inspiring to me as I saw
09:10As I saw the games live, how you're willing to just get in there and punish people
09:19Who are some of the greats that you really admire her for on and off the pitch of who they are or their athletic abilities.
09:26Yeah, I mean, you kind of look at sort of like I said before, when I when I was setting goals and was looking at rugby on TV. The only rugby that I got at my house, growing up was try nations and Super Rugby so
09:44Having my team, you know, as I was like okay I, you know, grew up watching remember watching Jonah lomu running over people
09:51All my goodness, you know, watching Judy Collins, you know, crash through you know this game lines and explosive tackles and just just our, sort of, you know,
10:02Those characters you know that I built up and like, how can I, you know, be something like that and you can just see sort of, you know, the commitment that they had, you know, not just for for themselves and for them being brave and that woman's thing.
10:18But the credit that they have for that jersey and that was what I kind of saw just from the TV, you know, domain and then getting into high performance.
10:28Then I started, you know, realizing that you know rugby. You can't just be 100%, you've got to have a good balance and if it's, you know, I've had a lot of teammates that were talented stronger or
10:42Whatever else but they didn't have a good balance on life. So, I mean, I always
10:47Talk to talk people you know it's good to play multiple sports. It's good to it's good to you know have hobbies, if it's going to be reading or if it's going to be writing or painting or
10:57gardening or whatever the case would be. It's really good. That way. So whenever you know I remember playing against one of my, you know, child.
11:05Childhood but my, you know, rugby guys that I looked up to you can say heroes of of it, George Smith, you know, from from the wallabies you know
11:14watched his game and I wanted to, you know, emulate his breakdown work, you know, we have two different body style types.
11:21But his breakdown work, how can I fit that into that along with sort of a Jerry Colin's on to Jonah lomu sort of, you know, as a One Care and what as 111 player. So, you know, playing against him.
11:36For super Robbie. And that was my first start was against the brumbies when I played with the lions.
11:40And I remember against the screen, you know, on a scrum dislike first thing. It's like you see you know your childhood icon design. Okay. And this is, you know, kind of making it. I've already played it a handful of
11:52Games are Super Rugby but playing against someone that you just idolized everything else and
11:57You know, is it was, it was just really cool, you know, to have that sort of experience and and not just, you know, have that and learn from him on the field and seeing shortcuts. Because, you know, always learning
12:09And you know, I can say that story so much because we won that game. And I actually had a better better game than him because
12:15You know, I put myself under so much pressure. And I was looking forward to it, too much and the media and everything else was was was really maxed out there, but
12:24But after the game, you know, couldn't have met a nicer guy and and we, you know, became friends and the next year. Whenever I should we traveled to them because I was in
12:35That was in Johannesburg and the next year we traveled to
12:38Capital of Australia Rivera played against them there. We caught up after the game there.
12:44In between, then we're teammates in Japan, then we're in England at the same time so you you build these friendships and it's amazing, you know, he's still one of my really really good friends. And, you know,
12:55His book on my coffee table one of those sort of things and you know tech all the time. So it's about being a really good person. And that's kind of who I've always looked up to something that works really hard. Someone that
13:07You can share it share a meal with or drink with some has the same sort of things.
13:13I mean, maybe it's just flankers on you know the back row is it has a bit of a screw loose that we get along better but but yeah I mean that's just imagine you know one of
13:23One of the dozens of, you know, highlights of my mic sort of career of planning into high performance and who I admire and and why am I'm just because, I mean, you can do anything on the right video
13:34That is awesome. And that's a great story. I hadn't heard that's awesome i. So what about strength and conditioning. What, what do you think
13:48So their skills training, but their strength and conditioning. What do you think strength and conditioning. How do you approach it. I mean,
13:57You've got I mean to play sevens professionally. You've got to be like
14:04a madman and conditioning RIGHT AND TO PLAY. And play and 15th as well. I mean 80 minutes of hard pounding I describe it to people as 80 minutes of a full brawl.
14:17And and you it. It is such a hard sport. One of the toughest sports on planet Earth that you really need to make sure that your strength and conditioning is dialed in.
14:30Or else you won't be able to make it through through an entire match or through through sevens tournament. What's been your philosophy and who are the people that have helped you along the way and and how has that helped you.
14:43Yeah, and and like anything. You know, it's sort of coming on the grips of professionalism of
14:50Rugby, you know, what kind of coaches, you, you, you have strength and conditioning and there's there's ones that you know are qualified
14:57But they just do have cut and paste, you know, sort of a, here's your program does cut and paste. I had the same thing as any other forward and there's a back back workout and for his workout.
15:07And once you get more professional. Once you invest in yourself and that's the biggest thing you got to invest in yourself. You can't just do this cookie cutter, sort of, you know,
15:18Programs, because, you know, it's, you know, ultimately, I couldn't do anything overhead or any like shoulder press
15:26The last five, six years of my, you know, professional career because my shoulder was, you know, pretty wrecked from from it.
15:32And once I was able to get the rehab the rehab, then I was able to do a little bit more. But you know, it's so that's good to get someone that you trust and you can get ready for the
15:44You know, extra, extra work you know and and I was lucky enough to have good coaches and like I said before, pre seasons.
15:52And offseasons is where you can make a lot of games and and to, you know, you have a long rugby season. You got to do all the work beforehand, you know, and that's put on extra pounds of
16:06Muscle or anything else. So you know that's that's kind of what I've been, you know, able to, you know, sort of do contribute
16:15Of doing extra work, you know, if I have a week off like I'm not going to just, you know,
16:21Sit on my butt. You know, and watch TV. I'm going to be like, Okay, I'm a week off. I know I'm not going to play in the game.
16:26So instead of just doing one leg day I'll be able to do to like days and then do everything else where I wouldn't have been able to do that extra leg day
16:34Because I would have had a game. So, you know, to go back to sort of offseasons, you know, when I was living overseas overseas for 13 years you know between New Zealand, South Africa, Japan and England.
16:45Every offseason, you know, becoming back to to San Diego.
16:49And Ryan gallop. I mentioned earlier, you know, had me on this program and
16:53And my offseasons were just as hard as pre seasons and everything else. I was able to mix it up it's shorter where I can, you know, enjoy the lifestyle but
17:02Man, I was, you know, he's getting me in the gym and he held me accountable and that was the biggest thing is is being held accountable and having somebody, you know, know your body
17:13You know, how can you get better. How can you get these gains during these off times
17:23And you and him have helped to create the rugby X program that's part of the rugby nation program.
17:30And and we're about to relaunch it with all your content.
17:34And it's pretty amazing.
17:36There's offseason and season postseason all kinds of all kinds of workouts and
17:45They're really help athletes to get to that level.
17:51Let me ask you about something that a lot of people don't talk about is the mental state of individuals in going into a game or in going into strength and conditioning.
18:05Is there anything that you've learned over time to be able to get your mind right to get you to to be able to perform to the level that you need to perform that
18:14Um, yeah, I mean, just like anything. You know, the mental side of things is massive. And, you know, it goes back to
18:22Like you know I mentioned before, of setting goals of, you know, watching TV. If it was going to be try nations are Super Rugby is like, hey, I want to play, you know, in this competition.
18:32Is that was my long term goals and then you know I had, I had a checklist of what I was doing.
18:39You know, before that game. Like, what were my goals. How many tackles that I want to make, how many you know you know breaks. How many things like you know
18:46And I held myself accountable before running out of the tunnel or stadium. I had my piece of paper. Okay, this is what I want to do you know when I got to the high level of super OB they
18:57Kind of looked at my teammates looked at me weird. There's, like, what is this guy doing in his journey like reading people and listen to music. People are getting pumped up and I'm just
19:04pretty calm and just kind of, okay, this is what I need to do. And at the end of everything I do is like, why am I playing the game, you know, and I've talked over and I'm representing
19:14Not just myself this team and you know for me I felt as though I was representing you know American rugby, you know, when I was playing in the in these competitions, because I was, you know, the only one that was a, you know, playing playing in southern hemisphere at the highest level.
19:30And I always find it so I knew I was accountable. I knew how my short term goals. I knew I wanted to do this so
19:37You know, after the games. And you know, I felt good about it. I had left everything on the field. So the mental side of things, you know with with anything.
19:46But what I know is rugby is is is massive. Because if you're confident, if you have that belief if you've done the hard work from, you know, offseason to preseason to, you know, no shortcuts on the field and you're and you have that belief with your team that commitment.
20:03You're setting yourself up for success.
20:07That's a great tip actually and I really like that that you write down your goals and even right before you hit the pitch you you're even reading the goals that you have for that specific game.
20:27And you're a family man and you have a daughter, and you spend a lot of time with her and
20:33I admire that I admire that you're involved and they you you do the best that you can. That way I'm a single dad, too. And, you know, right now.
20:45In the world, there's, there's a lot of commotion. There's a lot of people losing heart and stuff. I know you're a very peaceful guy on on the pitch and he'll destroy anybody across from you but off the pitch. You're seriously one of the nicest people that I know and and
21:03Give a message for peace, just a message for anybody who's
21:09You know, there's a lot of people are looking for some hope. What are your thoughts.
21:15Yeah, it is definitely a challenging time. You know what was going on the world and and
21:21You know, like I mentioned before you can I like I'm stuck in sort of this isolation kind of stuck to myself. And, you know, kind of kept quiet and my whole thing is, you know, be a good person and I, you know, my parents, you know, raise me and
21:35John, you know, treat everybody how you want to be treated. It's as simple as that. And, you know, it doesn't matter about anything, you know, and as long as you're a good person and and come from good
21:46Perspective, you know, it shouldn't matter and it's it's a shame that we're still going through some of the things that we are in today's world, in today's society.
21:55And it's disgusting to see and it breaks my heart for for mankind. You know, I have a lot of passions and one of them was in traveling the world living different cultures experiencing different lifestyles.
22:08And that comes with all shades of color of skin, but also, you know, seeing and treating the world of treating Mother. Mother Earth that
22:18We only have one. So, like everything kind of goes of being a good person, respecting everybody everything. Everything that's living and, you know, we definitely need a lot more that and
22:30Our I can you know sort of help her you present of of anything, you know, amen for it, but being positive is massive and just just just being a good person.
22:42I agree 100%
22:45Todd has been a pleasure. Seriously.
22:50I appreciate you being so kind to let me stay at your place and hang out and and also I appreciate you as a person and and I admire many things about you and and
23:03Thank you for taking the time to talk to me and to talk to reputation and I hope this inspires some people to be able to reach the goals and the levels that you reached and to get to know you a little bit better get to know you as a person.
23:20Now, I appreciate it. Thanks for having me and we'll catch up again soon.
23:23Okay. Sounds good.