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This Ten Questions idea is to ask a leading rugby personality; either a player, from the the media or an administrator some questions which may prompt a response from them which we have not heard of before;
For a start let's get the pronunciation correct of Wyn's name. His glorious Welsh surname of Gruffydd is pronouced as 'Griffith.' The, shall we say, curious look of the surname has had many of his travelling colleagues simply ask for 'Mr Gruff-idd' to hotel desk staff etc. It is easier perhaps.
Wyn has been a great travelling buddy for several decades now. His genial nature makes him a pleasure to work alongside. He and I have mostly worked together on the World Sevens rugby series where, quite simply we have had a lot of fun.
Of Wyn's particular talents none is great than his ability to commentate fluently in two languages; English and Welsh. To a Welshman that might seem no problem - but we outsiders can only marvel that all of the jargon of sport and the coloquialisms of different sporting expressions tumble off the lips of Wyn with nary a hesitation. Well not that I can see anyway! [See Wyn's beautiful answer to Question 7 below]
My thanks to Wyn for his willingness to open up to 'Ten Questions' on keithquinnrugby.com
From soccer it was Leeds and Juventus' 'Il Gigante Buono', Swansea born John Charles. From rugby, it was former Swansea, Wales and British Lion wing threequarter Dewi Bebb. By chance, we became work colleagues at HTV Wales in years to come. When I commentated on the final of the Rugby World Cup in South Africa in 1995, Dewi was directing back in Cardiff. At the end of transmission, he opened all the microphones and declared that was his finest hour in broadcasting. Thousands of miles away in Jo'burg I shed a tear. Nine months later he passed away. I cried.
I have been very fortunate to visit wonderful places through my work, but would not exchange any of them for where I now live. To take your question literally, I would move next door. Otherwise it would be Patagonia in wild and woolly southern Argentina. They speak Welsh there you know!
That is for others to say, but I find it hard to say "No".
Arrogance and ignorance; they usually come together. My late mother would always ask me after a broadcasting assignment - "Did anyone thank you?" The answer was inevitably a "No" but then I don't expect it in the business I am in. I never really gave it a second thought until now, but she was right - a "thank you" costs nothing.
Superstition? No? Fear? Heights and the prospect of losing my 'marbles' in old age, but then I shall be past caring anyway!
Apart from our two sons, surviving in a cut-throat business and seeking out other broadcasting opportunities, because when one door closes in 'TV land', invariably another gets slammed in your face!
The Welsh language.
I may be selfish, but it is the singular satisfaction of reflecting on a job well done. It's that "Yes" moment!
The places I've been to, the people that I have met, the friends that I have made, I am in a good place.
There are two: 'Fail to prepare, prepare to fail', and 'Don't let the 'buggers' get you down'. I learnt during the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand that the use of the word 'bugger' is completely acceptable. Memo to self: New Zealand might be an alternative to South America!
5 September 2010
The Black Ferns score their fourth success at the Women's Rugby World Cup!
New captain Melissa Ruscoe led the team for their 13-10 win over England in the final. This one sweeter - it was on English soil, in London.
Queensland and Australia
86 internationals for Australia 1991-2001
One of Australian rugby’s most recognizable and powerful rugby personalities, the modest, lanky Queenslander John Eales had a career at the top which spanned more than a decade and included playing in three World Cups. That in itself is a superb achievement but when the winning of the World Cup twice, as well as being captain once, are added in, his world status is further elevated.
John Eales was a 21 year old in just his second season of senior football when he played his first test on his home ground of Ballymore in Brisbane, against Wales in July of 1991. The Wallabies won 63-6 and followed that with a 40-15 win six days later in the second test in Sydney. A fortnight later and young Eales had outjumped the fast-rising New Zealand lock forward Ian Jones as Australia stormed to a 21-12.
The speed of his rise continued. By November that year he had played a World Cup final and after only being an international player for just a week over three months he had shared in the 12-6 win over England at Twickenham.
In many respects his career never looked back from that heady start. His play, as a tall leaping lock forward was always strong and authoritative, his goal-kicking from the lock forward position was often a real bonus to his Queensland and Australian teams. One time, early in his career, in a Brisbane club game, he let fly with a dropped goal attempt from half way. The ball flew high and true between the posts. The modest Eales dismissed the kick as if it were nothing. When he took over the captaincy of his country he was almost as laconic in accepting the honour. Not that Eales wasn’t proud, he was quietly delighted. He took to leadership as if to the manner born. It brought out in himself an ability to also bring quiet influence, confidence and respect from his teammates. A number of seasoned Australian writers rate him among their very best captains of all time. Those same writers say he is the best forward that country has ever produced.
Certainly as a player Eales was a true utility, playing in more than one position in the forward pack, (lock and number eight forward) yet he was also a multi-skilled performer around the field. He had such talent that somewhere on one of his journeys one of his mates called him ‘Nobody’ but it was not a reference to his quiet and shy manner. The name was a shortened version of ‘nobody’s perfect.’ The name was a backhanded compliment to his rare gifts.
John Eales played everywhere in the rugby world and, as already listed, had probably more success than any other player. By the time he reached the 1999 Rugby World Cup he was one of the most familiar faces of the world game. But retirement was looming. He had only reached the final’s series after a long and careful buildup recovering from a shoulder injury. But he played the World Cup with more than his usual authority and vigour; at one point it the final against Wales in Cardiff he demanded of the referee; Andre Watson of South Africa, that he should look closely at the tactics of the French players; ‘if you do not look at their foul play I will take my team off the field.’ Coming from Eales it was absolute that something was going on.
When the Wallabies won by the resounding margin of 35-12 John Eales took the Cup from Queens Elizabeth II and held it high. Though he played on for one more season that was the summit of his superb career.
His total of 86 test matches was then a Wallaby record for a forward; only the winger David Campese had played more. (Only Tim Horan and Jason Little were also in two World Cup winning teams; but does Eales being captain in one final just lift him a little higher?)
Which Irish rugby player of modern vintage has the nickname of '36?'
What do you think?
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