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

 

 

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.

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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

 

Wales vs England Rugby Facts

Six Nations Rivalry Between the Dragon and The Rose

Firstly, I have to mention that I am writing this as a passionate Welshman.  Not that this will change the facts and statistics.  They are irrefutable.  However, for any Welshmen there is something special when we beat England.

The Six Nations has seen the white shirts of England dominate in recent years.  There have been victories in 2015, 15 and 16.  Yes, Wales did put a spoke in the wheel of the England Rugby World Cup in 2015, but that has been the only joy for since the infamous 30-3 annihilation in Cardiff in 2013.

Now there’s the first ray of hope for the Welsh.  The coach at the time was Rob Howley.  In charge as Warren Gatland took a British and Irish Lions sabbatical.  The year that Wales last won the Six Nations.  Will history repeat itself?

The first international rugby game between Wales and England was on the 19th February 1881 in London.  England emerged victorious and it was not until 1890 in Yorkshire did Wales carve out their first historic win 1-0.

Over the decades, both Wales and England have dominated for short periods of time.  Between March 2000 and March 2004, England won 7 consecutive games and inflicted some of their biggest winning scores and margins.

In the Golden Age of Welsh rugby, Wales won 5 consecutive tests between February 1975 and March 1979.

Wales and England have played 129 times, with 60 victories to England against 57 to Wales with 1673 points to 1518.  There have been 12 draws, the last of which was in the 1983 Five Nations Championship in Cardiff (13-13) when England ended up with the Wooden Spoon after starting the tournament as favourites.

engalnd-vs-wales-1983

However, in the Six Nations, England have been dominate, carving out 11 victories to Wales 6.

david-duckham-1Prior to this year’s Six Nations contest between Wales and England in Cardiff on Saturday 11th February, England and British and Irish Lions legend, David Duckham will be talking about the rivalry at a pre-match hospitality event run by Legends Hospitality.  Duckham is often called the ‘Honorary Welshman’ because of his flair and it will be interesting to hear what he has to say.  In 2015, Steve Fenwick and JPR Williams shared their views, which was enlightening!  Photos can be seen on the Paul Fears Photography website.

The bookies are behind England, who are 2/5 on favourites to win.  But it is in Cardiff and the spectre of Rob Howley and 2013 will be floating around the Principality Stadium.

And I simply wish to whisper, “Cymru am byth.”

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

Phone:  01656 782252 or 07768 418308

By email on: legends@hospitalityandleisure.co.uk

Or via our website

Rugby Hospitality with Phil Davies

Phil Davies on Rugby before Wales Beat South Africa

On Saturday 26th November 2016, Legends Hospitality held a pre-match (Wales vs South Africa) hospitality event at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cardiff.  The guest speaker was Namibia coach Phil Davies, who sat and talked with guests about the challenges of professional rugby and the modern international game.

During a Q&A. compere, Paul Fielding, asked Phil a number of leading questions which kept the audience on the edge of their seats.

Legends Hospitality with Phil DaviesThere was a wry smile when Phil was asked about English second row forward, Wade Dooley, and the infamous ‘Battle of Cardiff’ in 1987.  However, it was Phil’s insight into the culture of rugby in Namibia and South Africa that proved the most intriguing.  There is no doubt that South African rugby is in a period of very difficult transition and that politics are playing a big part in the demise of the once-great Springboks.

What was apparent during the Q&A session was Phil’s depth of rugby knowledge and appreciation of the challenges facing coaches in today’s results drive world.  As the coach of Namibia, Phil has travelled to many other African rugby states and experienced things that many international coaches would never wish to encounter.

At the end of the event, as Phil was putting on his coat to head to the Principality Stadium, I asked him for his match prediction.  “Wales by 14 points,” he said.  Wales eventually won 27-13.  A pretty accurate prediction from an international coach with rugby running through his veins.

Photographs at the hospitality event were taken by Paul Fears Photography and can be viewed on his website.

Legends Hospitality is now taking bookings for pre-match hospitality prior to Wales playing England and Ireland in the 2017 Six Nations Championship.  For more information please contact Paul on:

Phone:  01656 782252 or 07768 418308

By email on: legends@hospitalityandleisure.co.uk

Or via our website

Legends Hospitality with Phil Davies

Pre Springboks Match Lunch with Phil Davies

Namibia Coach Phil Davies Talks Rugby Before Wales Play South Africa

Beating Argentina has given Wales an opportunity to finish the Autumn test series in style.  Although it is important not to underestimate Japan, Wales can expect to win.  That leaves a tasty final test against South Africa on Saturday 26th November 2016 at 17:30.

Prior to the game in Cardiff, Legends is holding a rugby lunch at the Radison Blu Hotel.  Speaking at the rugby lunch is present coach of Namibia, Phil Davies.

phil-davies-ieaun-evans-nigel-davies-scarlets

Phil Davies won 46 caps for Wales between 1985 and 1995.  He was a member of the 1988 Wales team that won the Triple Crown and shared the Five Nations Championship with France.  His career started with Llanelli in 1982, where he went on to play 350 times until his retirement in 1995.

He has a wealth of coaching experience, starting with Leeds Tykes in 1996 and taking up the head coach reigns at Scarlets, Wales U20, Cardiff Blues, RGC 1404 and most recently Namibia.

Following Wales recent performances, it will be interesting to hear the views of an incumbent international rugby coach.

The hospitality rugby lunch at the Radison Blu offers the ideal opportunity for fans to savour the atmosphere of the day.  In the warmth of a private room, there is a rugby curry lunch and easy access to private bars.  A large screen will be featuring rugby old and new, and will feature the game for people not going to the stadium.  Phil Davies will be talking about his rugby experiences and thoughts on international rugby.  Please note that places at the event are limited to ensure that people have the opportunity to meet and talk with Phil in person.

Prices to attend the Rugby Lunch are £29.00 per person or £260 for a table of 10.

For more information on the pre-match hospitality event with Phil Davies at the Radison Blu hotel, please contact Paul on:

Phone:  01656 782252 or 07768 418308

By email on: legends@hospitalityandleisure.co.uk

Or via our website

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