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07 September 2017 / Club News

Celebration Luncheon

Bridgend Athletic RFC Luncheon to Honour British Lion Rhys Webb.

Bridgend Athletic Committee persons David Davison & Jannean Obbard organised a 3-course dinner laid on by Church Village Caterers at a function to honour the club’s second British Lion Rhys Webb. Ironically, it was held in the room at the Athletic club’s clubhouse which once housed the bedroom of the legendary Wales & British Lion’s star Dr Jack Matthews.

The guest speaker was former Bridgend, Wales and British Lion Steve Fenwick who entertained the guests with tales of his rugby days and friendships with Lions he played with on the 1977 tour of New Zealand. These included Ireland No 8 Willy Duggan who passed away earlier this week.

This was followed by a question and answer session compered by Rhys’s friend and former Athletic wing Chris Harries. Justin Tipuric & Ashley Beck joined Rhys on the panel. It was good to see three present day stars still associated with their grass roots rugby. Ashley and Justin are still involved in assisting coaching at their junior side Trebanos, while Rhys has long assisted coaching age group rugby, youth and seniors at the Athletic club. His first son Regan currently plays where Rhys started off for the Athletic Under 7’s. It is also anticipated his second son Jesse will follow suit in a few years’ time.

The whole Webb family are Athletic through and through and were present to see Rhys honoured. His father Paul and uncles Ronnie and Mike all played with distinction for the Athletic. Mike was a founder member of the Athletic along with amongst other stalwarts Brian Lewis and Phil Rees who were also present on the day. His mother Angela & sister Nicole used to prepare player’s teas, while younger sister Chloe is a current barmaid.

Rhys was part of the Athletic youth team that won the Webb Ellis Youth Cup in 2006 and the same year won a tournament in Italy. Rhys won Welsh U16 and U18 with the Athletic, before being part of the U19 squad at the IRB World Cup. He also played alongside Leigh Halfpenny and Sam Warburton for Wales U20. The club were delighted when he won his first cap against Italy in 2012 and overjoyed when he turned up at the clubhouse following the game.

Rhys then presented the club with the Lion’s jersey he wore against the Crusaders in Christchurch. He also donated a pair of his rugby boots, signed photos of himself playing and scoring in the first test match, a signed rugby ball and a pair of shorts signed by the whole Lion’s squad for a raffle and auction on the day. To reciprocate the club presented Rhys with an Athletic cap normally awarded for 300 senior appearances. However, considering all Rhys achieved at the club during his mini, junior & Youth playing days and his subsequent ongoing club coaching duties as well as attending many presentation nights as main awards presenter, it was believed Rhys was worthy to join the exclusive band of Athletic players awarded club caps.

It was great to see Brian Lewis back at the club following illness. Brian conducted the raffle and was not prepared to give up the microphone until he had led a typical old fashioned Athletic singalong to conclude a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon

The club would like to thank Rhys, the organisers and speakers and all the guests who supported this very memorable occasion in the Athletics’ relatively short history.

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