Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
6 August 2014
From an interview Jonah did for the IRB's World of Rugby TV show.
"I didn't realise how much of an impact I had made on the rugby world until I had to go out and buy something in South Africa (during the Rugby World Cup) in 1995. I had to get security at the shopping mall near our hotel to get into the shop that I wanted to go to. Then I had to leave via the back stairwell to get back to my hotel.
And all I wanted to buy was a tube of toothpaste!
My whole life completely changed then. It was never the same after that - and it's still not mine now all these years later."
It was 145-17 in Bloemfontein. Marc Ellis scored 6 tries and Simon Culhane kicked 20 conversions. Plus from others there was a lot more!
One of the more prominent Welsh clubs, Aberavon was founded in 1876 and is centred at Port Talbot, near Swansea. After a particularly bright period of play in the 1920s, the Aberavon team became known as the ‘Wizards’. The name stuck and today a wizard is incorporated in the club’s monogram.
With the tough industrial and employment conditions associated with the coalﬁelds and steelworks of south Wales in recent years, so has Aberavon undergone tough times. These days the club is semi-professional and has had only modest success. In 2001 it did win the National Division One club league for the third time.
The club had four famous three-quarters in the 1920s – John Ring, Alun Edwards, Syd Williams and Arthur Bassett – but all later switched to rugby league. The club’s 1984 top try-scorer, Kevin James, also left the district to play league. In 1985 he played for Hull in rugby league’s top match of the year, the Challenge Cup ﬁnal.
Aberavon’s leading cap-winner for Wales is Allan Martin, who played 34 internationals for his country between 1973 and 1981. The big lock also toured with the British Isles to New Zealand (1977) and to South Africa (1980).
Other prominent Wizards from over the years include John Bevan (Welsh international 1975, British Isles tour to New Zealand 1977 and Welsh national team coach 1982–86); Ned Jenkins (21 internationals for Wales 1927–32); Tony O’Connor (ﬁve internationals for Wales 1960–62, British Isles tour to South Africa 1962); and Clive Williams (Welsh international prop 1977–83 who later played for Swansea and toured New Zealand with the British Isles 1977 and South Africa 1980). Billy James (1983-87) is the only club player to have captained the Welsh national XV.
One family which had a close association with Aberavon is the family of Richard Burton. The famous actor used to recall that his father always used to say,‘when I die, do not bury me on a Saturday. If you do you will miss watching The Wizards play.”
The Aberavon team plays in red and black hooped jerseys,
Which club supplied seven players of the 1971 British and Irish Lions touring team to New Zealand - five of whom played all four tests?