3rd British Lions vs All Blacks test 1971 versus 2017

Can British Lions Rugby History Repeat Itself?

On 31st July 1971, players selected by British Lions coach Carwyn James ran onto the pitch at Athletic Park in Wellington, New Zealand with the chance to create rugby history.  Never before had a Lions side won a series in New Zealand.

In the 4-test series, the Lions had won the 1st test in Carisbrook, Dundein 9-3 and then lost 22-12 at Lancaster Park, Christchurch.  Even though there was still one remaining test after Wellington, winning the 3rd test would put the Lions in pole position for a historic series victory.

So how does the British Lions team who face the All Blacks at Eden Park in Auckland in tomorrow’s (8th July 2017) test compare with the 1971 heroes?

Full Back – 15

JPR Williams (Wales) played all 4 tests in 1971 and famously leveled the 4th and final test with a 45 metre drop-goal, the only one of his illustrious career.

An equally uncompromising and unpredictable Welshman wears the 15 jersey tomorrow.  Liam Williams, the Scarlet who joins Saracens next season, produced some rugby brilliance in the 1st test, sidestepping to start one of the best Lions tries ever scored.  He was not our predicted full back (we chose Leigh Halfpenny back in April 2017), and can he reproduce that 1st Test magic, whilst also cutting out simple mistakes?

Wings – 11 & 14

In the 1971 3rd test, the wing berths were occupied by Gerald Davies (Wales) and honorary Welshman David Duckham (England).   Davies started the 3rd test after scoring twice in the 2nd test.  He went on to score the vital only try of the game.  Our April prediction of  George North (Wales) and Stuart Hogg (Scotland) never materialized because of injury and form.  Instead, two Englishmen have claimed the shirts.  Anthony Watson and Elliot Daly will hopefully provide the magic and pace to frighten the All Blacks out wide.

Centres – 12 & 13

Captain John Dawes lined up with Irish legend Mike Gibson for all 4 tests in 1971.  In April, we predicted that Owen Farrell (England) would start the 1st test at 12 with Jonathan Davies (Wales) outside in the 1st test.  We were out by one game, with Gatland selecting them for the 2nd and 3rd Tests.  Jonathan Davies has been in great form and has cut through the All Blacks in each Test.  He just needs support and composure to turn those opportunities into tries.

Fly/Outside Half – 10

People say that Rugby is different today, but Welshman Barry John is still regarded as one of the finest players ever to wear the number 10 shirt.  He played all 4 tests in 1971, kicking 5 penalties, 3 conversions, and 2 drop goals.  Initially we thought Gatland would stick with his statement that Farrell and Sexton would be competing for the same shirt, but in the 2nd test he surprised everyone and selected Sexton at 10.

Scrum Half – 9

The All Blacks faced the best Scrum Half ever to play the game of rugby in 1971.  Gareth Edwards was the ultimate number 9 and gave Barry John the space he needed to excel.  Our ‘Welsh-Rose-Tinted-Glasses’ envisaged Rhys Webb starting the first test, but Connor Murray has made the 9 shirt his own.  Strong and with an excellent box kick, Murray scored the decisive try in the 2nd test.

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Number 8

Welshman Mervyn Davies (Merv-the-swerve) played all 4 Test at number 8 in 1971.  In 2017, Billy Vinopola (England) was the favourite to wear the shirt, but failed to make the tour due to injury.  His place has been taken by the quiet and unassuming Taulupe Faletau (Wales).  He has had an excellent tour and his try in the 2nd Test started the come back.

Back Row – 6 & 7

John Taylor and Peter Dixon had been selected for the 1st two tests in 1971 and would go on to be selected for the 4th Test, but their places were taken by Derek Quinnell (Wales) and Fergus Slattery (Ireland) for the 3rd Test.  Back in April, we thought that tour captain Sam Warburton (Wales) may start the 1st test at 6, but we were out by one game.  His physicality in the 2nd test was one of the reasons for a more competitive forward encounter.  However, we selected the wrong Irishman as his partner in the back row, with the outstanding Sean O’Brien keeping CJ Stander (Ireland) out of the test squad.

Second Row – 4 & 5

For the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Tests in 1971, Lions legend, Willie John McBride (Ireland) packed down with Gordon Brown (Scotland).  Again, our selection prediction for the 1st Test in 2017 was one game out, as veteran Alun Wyn-Jones (Wales) and Maro Itoje (England) pack down for the 2nd time in the engine house.

Props – 1 & 3

The front row was the same for all 4 Tests in 1971, with J F Lynch (Ireland) and Mighty Mouse, Ian McLauchlan (Scotland) propping.  Although there was some consternation that we had predicted the selection of two tightheads for the 1st Test (Dan Cole (England) and Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)), Furlong starts alongside Mako Vunipola (England).  Let’s hope that Vunipola keeps his head and his discipline in the 3rd Test.

Hooker – 2

English great John Pullin was the man in the middle of the scrum in 1971.  Our selection prediction for the 1st Test included Welshman Ken Owens, and he makes the bench.  England second choice, Jamie George, has made the Hooker position his own with some sterling performances on tour.

On the 8th July 2017, the 22 British Lions players selected to play against the All Blacks have the chance to become rugby legends.  There is no doubting the enormity of the occasion.  Some say this is just 22 players against 22.  But then we utter the words ‘All Blacks’.  To win, those selected to wear the red shirt will have to play at the peak of their ability.  They will need to push their bodies to the point of exhaustion.  Only then might the Lions have a chance of winning the final Test and securing the series.

Good luck!  We are all behind you!

Legends Hospitality arrange sports hospitality events in South Wales including pre-match entertainment in Cardiff.  For further information please contact Paul Fielding on:

Phone:  01656 782252 or 07768 418308

By email on: legends@hospitalityandleisure.co.uk

Or via our website

 

Phil Bennett Speaks at Caldicot RFC

British Lions Stories and Thoughts from Phil Bennett

Our latest rugby hospitality event was with the legendary Llanelli, Wales, Barbarians and British Lions fly-half Phil Bennett at Caldicot RFC in South Wales.Legends_Hospitality-234225

With the British Lions presently touring New Zealand, it was great to hear the thoughts of a player who wore the Lions red jersey in 8 tests on the 1974 and 1977 tours scoring 44 points.  He was also captain of the 1977 tour to New Zealand, which they lost 3-1.

Phil Bennett was a key member of the undefeated 1974 British Lions who toured South Africa.  However, his style of running the ball from any part of the pitch was not to the liking of tour captain, Willie John McBride, who told him to ‘not try any of that Barbarians funny stuff here’.  McBride was referring to the Barbarians vs All Blacks test match in 1973 when Bennett double-side stepped inside his own 22 and starting the move that produced, what many believe, was the greatest try ever scored.

Even though rugby has changed with the advent of professionalism, Phil explained that the ability to succeed as a British Lions squad is down to the bonding of the team as much as the capabilities of individual players.

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It was fascinating to listen to Phil’s stories from a classic rugby era, but also to hear his opinions on the modern day game.  Phil often appears as a rugby pundit on television, radio and in the printed press, and his depth of knowledge and love of the oval-balled game was clear for all to see.  It was a great night for any lover of rugby

Caldicot RFC is based near Chepstow in Monmouthshire and was founded in 1961.  In the 2016-17 season, Caldicot RFC finished tenth in the WRU National League Division 2 East with 36 points.

Legends Hospitality arrange sports hospitality events in South Wales including pre-match entertainment in Cardiff.  For further information please contact Paul Fielding on:

Phone:  01656 782252 or 07768 418308

By email on: legends@hospitalityandleisure.co.uk

Or via our website

British Lions On Show In Championship Finals

Who Will Play In The First Test in New Zealand?

This weekend (27th May 2017) is the culmination of months of grueling and exciting rugby with two title deciders.  In the Guinness Pro 12, Llanelli Scarlets travel to Ireland to face Munster, and in the Aviva Premiership, Wasps take on Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham.  But which of the 8 British Lions starting in those two finals will be in the starting 15 for the first New Zealand test match in Eden Park, Auckland on 24th June 2017?

Aviva Stadium Dublin

Munster vs Llanelli Scarlets

The best of Scotland, Italy, Wales and Ireland face each other at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.  In Dublin there will be 5 Lions squad players on the pitch, with tourist Ken Owens (Scarlets) still recovering from injury.

Jonathan Davies (Scarlets)

Many people think that Davies was lucky to be selected, but when he’s on form he is difficult to handle.  Since being selected his form has improved, but he will need a big game against Munster to push his claim for a starting spot against the All Blacks on the 24th.

Conor Murray (Munster)

Murray is widely expected to secure the number 9 shirt for the first test.  His abrasive style and experience of beating the All Blacks pushes him ahead of Webb and Laidlaw.  However, he also is just returning from injury and it will be interesting to see how he performs.

Conor Murray

Peter O’Mahony

Munster captain, O’Mahony leads by example and will be a huge force to for the Scarlets back row to contain tomorrow.  The level of competition in the back row might just keep him out of the starting 15, but he could make the bench.

C J Stander (Munster)

Tough and uncompromising.  Stander has been outstanding in recent seasons and Warren Gatland has even talked about him being selected at Number 8.  Although maybe Faletau and Moriarty may have something to say about that.  Excellent chance of being selected for the 1st Test.

Liam Williams (Scarlets)

He can play anywhere across the back 3 and has even taken over the kicking duties at the Scarlets.  Making the first 15 may be just out of his reach, although his versatility might get him a place on the bench.

Wasps vs Exeter Chiefs

In Twickenham, the cream of English rugby will be fighting it out to secure the title.  For Exeter it is almost a dream, whilst Dai Young has managed to bring the magic back to Wasps.  However, only 3 Lions squad members will be on show.

Eliot Daly (Wasps)

Another versatile back 3 player who performed well in the Six Nations.  However, with the level of competition, he may struggle to get into the squad for the 1st test unless his performances on tour are outstanding.

James_Haskell_2011James Haskell (Wasps)

Drafted into the squad following Billy Vunipola’s unfortunate withdrawal.  Just because he is a late call up, doesn’t mean that he can’t secure a spot in the 22 and he will be out to show that he should have been selected from day 1.  However, competition in the back row does suggest he may be resigned to watching from the stands.

Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)

Quick, powerful and abrasive.  With North highly likely to feature on one wing, is the 2nd berth between Nowell, Daly, Halfpenny and Hogg?  Like Daly, securing a place in the test squad may be down to outperforming his challengers on tour.

Playing in the finals will be an exciting but worrying time for all the players.  The physicality of rugby means that there will be injuries.  We wish all those playing the best of luck and he hope that they are all on that British Lions plane when it leaves the UK for New Zealand.

Legends Hospitality arrange sports hospitality events in South Wales including pre-match entertainment in Cardiff.  For further information please contact Paul Fielding on:

Phone:  01656 782252 or 07768 418308

By email on: legends@hospitalityandleisure.co.uk

Or via our website

 

 

Any There Any 2018 Six Nations Fixture Advantages?

Six Nations 2018 Fixture Dates

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It was been suggested that setting the fixture dates for the Six Nations in 2018 did not go smoothly.  The declaration from Wales that they were no longer happy to play at home on a Friday night, forced a rethink of the fixture dates.  Also, as England refuse to play on a Friday night, it left Scotland and Ireland to fight out the hotly debated and much maligned early weekend fixture.

There was also talk of a shortened 5-week Six Nations, supported by the English RFU, but widely criticised by players and those involved in player welfare.

Now the dust has settled and the fixtures are set.  So does anyone have an advantage?

England vs Wales (10th February 2018)

Champions England open in Italy, but then face Wales in Twickenham only 6 days later.  Will there be enough time to recover?  Wales have the luxury of a home game against Scotland and a full 7 days recovery.  Maybe Eddie Jones should start writing his excuses for a potential England loss.

Millennium Stadium Cardiff

 Wales vs France (17th March 2018)

The only time Wales will have less than 7 days to recover is before the final test against France.  However, 6 days earlier they play at Cardiff against Italy.  Not needing to travel should be advantageous.  Also, it is the last game of the tournament and so both sides will know what is needed to secure the title.  Could this be the title decider?

Ireland vs Italy (10th February 2018)

After facing defending champions England on the first weekend, albeit at home, Italy then travel to Ireland 6 days later to face the men in green.  With limited player resources, will the Azzurri be ready to face one of the favourites for the tournament?

Italy vs Scotland (17th March 2018)

Isn’t it strange how Italy, the weakest team in the tournament, are also given the toughest fixture dates.  For the 2nd time in 2018, Italy will be faced with a 6-day turnaround after facing Wales in Cardiff.  If points are needed on that final weekend, then a weakened and tired Azzuri could make a big difference to the final standings.

2018 Six Nations Fixtures

The full 2018 Six Nations fixture list is:

3rd February 2018

Wales v Scotland, Saturday 2.15pm
France v Ireland, Saturday 4.45pm

4th February

Italy v England, Sunday 3.00pm

10th February

Ireland v Italy, Saturday 2.15pm
England v Wales, Saturday 4.45pm

11th February 2018

Scotland v France, Sunday 3.00pm

23rd February

France v Italy, Friday 8.00pm

24th February 2018

Ireland v Wales, Saturday 2.15pm
Scotland v England, Saturday 4.45pm

10th March

Ireland v Scotland, Saturday 2.15pm
France v England, Saturday 4.45pm

11th March 2018

Wales v Italy, Sunday 3.00pm

17th March

Italy v Scotland, Saturday 12.30pm
England v Ireland, Saturday 2.45pm
Wales v France, Saturday 5.00pm

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Pre-Match Hospitality

Once again, prior to each of the Wales home games, Legends Hospitality will be holding pre-match events at the Radisson Blue Hotel in the centre of Cardiff.  Guest from the world of rugby will be present to meet with guests and talk about the Six Nations and their life in rugby.  Further details will be released shortly and please contact Paul on 01656 782252 or by email on legends@hospitalityandleisure.co.uk for further information.

Legends Hospitality arrange sports hospitality events in South Wales including pre-match entertainment in Cardiff.  For further information please contact Paul Fielding on:

Phone:  01656 782252 or 07768 418308

By email on: legends@hospitalityandleisure.co.uk

Or via our website

This Years British Lions versus 1971

Who Will Start Against the All Blacks on 24th June?

On Wednesday 19th April 2017, coach Warren Gatland announced the 41-man squad to tour and beat New Zealand in the summer.  There were some surprise inclusions and omissions, but the general consensus is that this is a strong squad.

British Lions 1971

The last British Lions team to win a series in New Zealand was in 1971.  Coached by the legendary Carwyn James and captained by Welshman John Dawes, the Lions won the series 2-1 with the final test in Auckland being drawn.

So how does the present Lions squad compare?  We look at the Lions team who started the First Test against the All Blacks and compare against a predicted team for the 2017 selection:

Full Back – 15

JPR Williams (Wales) started in 1971 as 1 of 6 Welsh players in a formidable back line.  Our prediction for 2017 is the best defensive 15 in the world, another Welshman, Leigh Halfpenny.

Wings – 11 & 14

Another 2 Welshman, Gerald Davies and John Bevan terrorised the All Blacks from out wide.  In 2017, George North (Wales) will be given the task of thundering into the opposition, supported by the speed and slight-of-foot of Stuart Hogg (Scotland).

Centres – 12 & 13

Captain John Dawes lined up with Irish legend Mike Gibson in 1971.  In one of the most hotly contested positions on tour, Own Farrell (England) will start at 12 with Jonathan Davies (Wales) outside.

Fly/Outside Half – 10

One of the best players to grace the rugby field wore the number 10 shirt in 1971.  Welshman Barry John.  But in 2017, it will be an Irishman, Johnny Sexton, who is given the responsibility.

Barry John Johnny Sexton

Scrum Half – 9

Another legend of the game, Gareth Edwards, played scrum half in 1971.  Legend has it that his partnership with Barry John was created in heaven.  Another Welshman will don the number 9 shirt in 2017, Ospreys Rhys Webb.

Number 8

Mervyn Davies (Merv-the-swerve) joined the contingent of Wales players in the team packing down at number 8 in 1971.  In 2017, Billy Vinopola (England) will take on the responsibility to carry the ball across the gain line from the start.

Back Row – 6 & 7

A Welshman, John Taylor, and Englishman, Peter Dixon, teamed up to tame the All Blacks in 1971.  In 2017, the blindside number 6 spot will be taken by CJ Stander (Ireland) with tour captain Sam Warburton (Wales) at 7.  Although could Sam start at 6?

Second Row – 4 & 5

Lions legend, Willie John McBride (Ireland) packed down with W D Thomas of Wales and Llanelli in the engine room.  In probably the most highly contested position on tour, veteran Alun Wyn-Jones (Wales) will join forces with Lions debutante Maro Itoje (England) in a forceful second row.

Props – 1 & 3

The props who made up the 1971 Front Row were J F Lynch (Ireland) and Mighty Mouse, Ian McLauchlan (Scotland).  On this tour there were will be players selected specifically as starters and substitutes and for that reason Dan Cole (England) and Tadhg Furlong (Ireland) get the nod.

Hooker – 2

English great John Pullin was the man in the middle of the scrum in 1971.  When the packs sets the first scrum in New Zealand on 24th June, Welshman Ken Owens will be balanced between his two props.

There is still a lot of rugby to be played before the British Lions face the All Blacks in the First Test and injuries will play a major part in the selection of the team.  The question is whether this Lions side would be good enough to beat the All Blacks on their turf.  Feedback is welcomed!

Legends Hospitality arrange sports hospitality events in South Wales including pre-match entertainment in Cardiff.  For further information please contact Paul Fielding on:

Phone:  01656 782252 or 07768 418308

By email on: legends@hospitalityandleisure.co.uk

Or via our website

3 Great Wales Victories Against Ireland

Classic Rugby International Wins for Wales Against Ireland

The Wales vs Ireland Six Nations fixture has grown in intensity in recent years.  Whether that is because of the Warren Gatland association or the closely contested Guinness Pro 12 is unclear.  Nevertheless, Friday night’s fixture will undoubtedly be feisty.

Wales approach Friday’s Six Nations test match on the back of two consecutive defeats.  In contract, Ireland have bounced back with two victories after losing in Scotland.  There is pressure on the Wales team and coaching staff.  This is heralded as a must-win test match, but aren’t they all?

So, we look back, at some great Wales victories in the modern era.

Wales 32 Ireland 20, Six Nations, Millennium Stadium, 19th March 2005

Mike Rudduck had masterminded a brilliant Six Nations and on the final weekend of the 2005 season, Wales had a chance to secure their first Grand Slam since 1978.  The atmosphere in the whole of Wales was electric and, for the first time in decades, the Welsh rugby faithful believed.

Wales had not beaten Ireland in the previous five attempts.  Only 3 years previously, Ireland had hammered Wales 54-10 in Dublin.  This wasn’t going to be easy.

Gethin Jenkins helped calm the nerves, charging down a Ronan O’Gara kick before side footing and then falling on the ball to score the opening try.  Wales lead by 16-6 at the break.

When Kevin Morgan scored the 2nd try to put Wales 29-6 up, we all thought that it was all over.  But no.  Back came Ireland, with tries from Marcus Horan and Geordan Murphy.  However, the magnificent Stephen Jones had kept the point ticking over finishing with 16 points.

And then the whole of Wales celebrated their 9th Grand Slam, 18th Triple Crown and 23rd title.  An incredible day!

Wales 22 Ireland 10, Rugby World Cup, Regional Stadium,Wellington, New Zealand, 8th October 2011.

It was the quarter finals of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.  Ireland were the favorites after winning all 4 pool games, including a 15-6 win against Australia.

In front of over 35,000 fans, Wales ran in 3 tries to Ireland’s 1.  Shane Williams scored after only 3 minutes to help Wales secure a 10-3 lead at half -time.  After the break, Ireland came right back into the game with a Keith Earls try.  But there was no stopping the Wales team of 2011.

On 51 minutes, Mike Phillips made a blindside break to score a vital try.  13 minutes later the dominance of the Welsh team saw Jonathan Davies collect a poor kick, fend off Cian Healey and burst through to score a try.

Ireland fought to the bitter end, but Wales held out and marched onto the infamous semi-final against France.

Wales 23 Ireland 21, Six Nations, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland, 5th February 2012

In a classic encounter, Wales staged a thrilling comeback to open the 2012 Six Nations campaign with a victory.  Two tries from Jonathan Davies and one from George North with only 4 minutes to play, were enough to beat the Irish on their home turf.

At half-time, Ireland led 10-5 and travelling fans were left wondering whether their exploits in the 2011 World Cup were just a distant memory.  They need not have worried.

In the second half, Wales played with width and depth.  Ronan O’Gara kept the Irish in touch and they led until a 79th minute tip tackle from Stephen Ferris gave Leigh Halfpenny the chance to win the game.

Wales went on to win the championship and secure their 11th Grand Slam.

Rugby Hospitality with Matthew Rees

Prior to the Wales vs Ireland Six Nations test on Friday, Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees will be our guest speaker at a pre-match hospitality dinner (Radisson Blue Hotel , Cardiff).  He will be giving his views on Wales performances in 2017, and also talk about which Welsh and Irish players may be flying out to New Zealand with the British & Irish Lions in the summer.

For more information or to book a place at the Pre-Match hospitality event with Matthew Rees, please contact Paul Fielding on:

Phone:  01656 782252 or 07768 418308

By email on: legends@hospitalityandleisure.co.uk

Or via our website

 

Wales vs Ireland Rugby History

Celtic Rivalry on the Rugby Field

Ireland travel to Cardiff to face Wales in the Principality Stadium on Friday 10th March 2017.  The night-time kick-off time brings an added edge to a crucial game for both sides.

In the Six Nations since 2010, both sides have won three times, with a 16-16 draw the last time the sides played in Dublin in 2016.  Two of the last three games in Cardiff have been won by Ireland.

Rugby Union - 2015 RBS 6 Nations - Wales v Ireland - Millennium Stadium

On that Friday night in Cardiff, Ireland will be aiming to keep their Six Nations dream alive after their shock 27-22 defeat in Murrayfield has been followed by victories over Italy and France.

For Wales, a victory is needed to salvage something from a disappointing Six Nations, with the opening victory against Italy followed by a close defeat by England and a humiliating loss in Scotland.

This is a crunch test match.

Playing Ireland has never been easy.  Since the first test match took place in Dublin in January 1882, Wales have had more success with 67 victories against Ireland’s 50 wins, with 7 draws.  However, in Ireland the wins are 28 each with 5 draws.  Cardiff has been the happier hunting ground for Wales, with 36 victories against Ireland’s 20 with 2 draws.

Before every Wales vs Ireland test match, the media have been heard to report that Cardiff has been a happy hunting ground for Ireland, with 5 victories against 3 since the Six Nations began in 2000.  However, recent results are far more even.

Rob Howley and his men have to regroup after the calamitous second half display in Edinburgh.  Ireland, high on confidence after the summer win against the All Blacks and solid performances against Italy and Ireland, are the bookies favourites.

Can Wales combat the physicality of the Irish?  And can they convert the opportunities they create?  By 10pm on Friday 10th March, we will know.

Prior to the test match in Cardiff, Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees will be speaking at a pre-match hospitality event at the Radisson Blu Hotel.  It will be enlightening to hear what a current player and ex Wales and British & Irish Lions capped hooker thinks about the Wales performance in Scotland and his thoughts on playing Ireland.  Maybe he will even mention the infamous try/no try in 2011.

For more information or to book a place at the Pre-Match hospitality event with Matthew Rees, please contact Paul Fielding on:

Phone:  01656 782252 or 07768 418308

By email on: legends@hospitalityandleisure.co.uk

Or via our website

 

 

 

Matthew Rees Talks Rugby Before Wales Play Ireland

Pre-Match Hospitality with Matthew Rees in Cardiff

Prior to the Six Nations test match between Wales and Ireland on Friday 10th March 2017, guests will be treated with rugby tales from Cardiff Blues, Wales, and British & Irish Lions hooker, Matthew Rees.

matthew-rees

In a Wales career that started in 2005 against the USA,  Matthew won 61 caps, making him the most capped hooker in Welsh rugby history.  He captained Wales in the 2011 Six Nations, but missed the World Cup in the same year due to a neck injury.  His last Wales cap was against South Africa in June 2014.

wales-british-lions-front-rowIn 2009, Matthew toured South Africa with the British & Irish Lions, winning 3 caps and being selected in the middle of a complete Wales front row for the second test.  The last time a complete Welsh front row had packed down for the Lions was in 1955.

As well at gaining Wales and British & Irish Lions honours, Matthew’s rugby career has seen him play in the colours of Merthyr, Pontypridd, Celtic Warriors, and Llanelli Scarlets, before moving to the Cardiff Blues for the 2013-14 season.  It was whilst at Pontypridd, that Matthew was nicknamed ‘Smiler’.  In May 2016, Matthew signed a new Cardiff Blues contract.

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At the Legends Hospitality pre-match event, Matthew will be talking about his life in rugby.  It will also be interesting to hear the views of a current professional who has played at the highest level.  By the time Matthew stands to speak, Wales will have played another test match against Scotland at Murrayfield and Ireland will have played France.  With both Wales and Ireland already losing one test match each, neither can afford a second defeat.

For more information or to book a place at the Pre-Match hospitality event with Matthew Rees, please contact Paul Fielding on:

Phone:  01656 782252 or 07768 418308

By email on: legends@hospitalityandleisure.co.uk

Or via our website

 

 

Rugby Tales from David Duckham

The Perfect Rugby Warm Up for Wales vs England

Our build-up to last weekend’s Wales and England test match in Cardiff involved two events with England, British and Irish Lions and Coventry rugby legend David Duckham.  David’s recounted stories of his days with England and the Lions, giving his personal insight into life in rugby before professionalism.

On Friday 10th February, David spoke at a special rugby dinner held at the fantastic Cae Court Hotel and Restaurant in Bridgend.  Among the guests was rugby fan and Wales First Minister, Carwyn Jones.  After the dinner, signed rugby memorabilia was raffled to raise money for local charities.

Legends Hospitality David Duckham Lunch at Cae Court Bridgend

At the event, the locally-based international sports artist Patrick Killian exhibited a David Duckham original painting for the first time.  The stunning painting was signed by David and a time-lapse video showing Patrick working on the painting can be seen on the Killian Art website.

Legends Hospitality David Duckham Lunch at Cae Court Bridgend

The lunch was a great success and the ideal start to the second Six Nations weekend of 2017.

Prior to the Wales vs England test match on Saturday 11th February, David Duckham and JPR Williams entertained the guests with tales of rugby in the 1970s.  They also talked about professional rugby in the modern era and the Wales vs England test match.   The Q & A session was particularly interesting with probing questions seeking the opinions of two rugby legends who are still respected across the rugby world.

Wales vs EnglandAt the event, Patrick Killian also displayed a painting of JPR Williams playing for the British and Irish Lions against the All Blacks in 1971.  The painting was signed by JPR Williams and is one-of-a kind.

Just before people left for the stadium, David was joined by British Lions and Wales flanker Tom David.

A selection of photographs from both events can be seen on the Paul Fears Photography website:

The next Legends Hospitality event, with British and Irish Lions and Wales Hooker Matthew Rees, is prior to the Wales vs Ireland Six Nations test match on Friday 10th March.  For more information or to book at place, please contact Paul Fielding on:

Phone:  01656 782252 or 07768 418308

By email on: legends@hospitalityandleisure.co.uk

Or via our website

Wales vs England

Potential Lions from Six Nations Round 1

Who Boosted Their Chance for a British and Irish Lions Place?

What a great start to the Six Nations.  Mind you, would we have expected any less?

Scotland edged out much-fancied Ireland 27-22 in a thriller at Murrayfield.  I fear for the Italians who have to face the Irish next.  It could be a bonus point annihilation in Italy.

stuart-hogg-comes-close-lions-v-reds_2956418

But in Edinburgh, who stood out?  In my mind, there were two players who put their hands up.  At full-back, Stuart Hogg once again showed how he is possibly the best attacking 15 in the world.  His running lines and speed will terrorise any defence, including the All Blacks.

Another player who has an outside chance of getting on the plane down-under is Greig Laidlaw.  A key link man, but also a phenomenal kicker.

Of the Irish, maybe only Ian Henderson stood out for the Lions coaching team.

haskellEngland stretched their winning run to 15 with a hard-fought 19-16 victory against France.  It was not the most spectacular of games and the biggest impact appeared to be the English bench.  James Haskell must be penciled onto the Lions squad team sheet and I expect to see more of him in the Six Nations.

When Wales played Italy on Sunday, all eyes were on Sam Warburton and he did not disappoint.  Also, Alun Wyn Jones did everything expected of being the captain and enhanced his chances of being Gatland’s right hand man in New Zealand when Wales left the field securing a 33-7 victory.  And can you leave out Halfpenny, who kicked Wales back into the game when they were 7-3 down?  But where would you play him?

Before the Wales vs England test match this weekend, we have a rugby hospitality event with David Duckham and JPR Williams at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cardiff.  It will be interesting to hear their thoughts about the crunch test match and those who can forget booking a family summer holiday.

For more information about pre-match rugby hospitality in Cardiff, please contact Paul Fielding on:

Phone:  01656 782252 or 07768 418308

By email on: legends@hospitalityandleisure.co.uk

Or via our website