Flattening the Rugby World
My mum was born in Pontypool. ‘Pooler’ was one of the prominent forces in British rugby during the latter decades of amateurism. Under the leadership of Ray Prosser it built a fearsome reputation as a hard and uncompromising place to play. The qualities of the Pontypool pack reflected the town itself — tough, rugged and dour. These were hard men many of whom went rugby training after a day of physical labour. Like many surrounding areas by the dawn of the professional era the town was a visible symbol of post-industrial decline. Once an important marker in the local identity of the town, a little more than two decades after they hosted the 1984 Wallabies touring team, Pontypool RFC was put up for sale for one pound. I remember standing on the bank at Pontypool Park watching this Australian team. To say I actually watched the game is probably an exaggeration for the match was played in thick mist and the occasional glimpse of a Wallaby jersey or a brief sighting of a man in the red, white and black hoops of the home team was a rare occurrence. Just as rare an occurrence in the professional age are sightings of these touring teams at places like Pontypool Park. Now the leading southern hemisphere nations play a series of test matches against their northern hemisphere counterparts and matches against club sides or regional teams are few and far between.
KeywordsRugby Player Rugby League Rugby Union Home Team Test Match
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.