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Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

Memories and Memorabilia

Old School

On being selected for a Wales versus Italy Match

from The Mountain Ash Leader, July 21, 1988 via Judith Griffiths

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Left to right : Meirion Rees, Gareth Rees

Gareth Rees recalls the moments leading up to his match
playing for Wales schoolboys against Italy early in 1988.
Gareth attended the comprehensive school 1984–91.

The day we took on the Italians


BOTH Meirion and Gareth Rees of Mountain Ash have represented Wales at rugby under 18 level.

Gareth recalls the match earlier this year with the Italian side. “We arrived at about 1:00pm at Stradey Park, Llanelli for the first ceremony – the cap and jersey ceremony.


We were all seated, captain first, and were called out one by one. No5, No6 ... my stomach turned — ‘Gareth Rees’ — lots of applause; this was the moment I’d been waiting for the climax of my rugby career so far. A few moments and it would be over, so I thought I’d savour it while I could. What a feeling!

Having stayed around for a lot of family photographs, it was down to the changing room. We changed and made our way on to the pitch for the team photo and then returned to the changing room.


I started to think about the game as we all psyched ourselves up. Some gazed out of the small windows at the coaches arriving from the various villages across Wales.

Seven minutes before kick-off — the coach says a few words and we go through an old rugby ritual — the ‘1 to 10’ (all the team gathers in a circle, jogging on the spot and shouting, and counts 1 to 10 to put the frights up the other team). The ref says it’s time; we all sprint out down the tunnel onto the field to rapturous applause.