Rugby Union: Quinnell revisits land of his father

Click to follow
The Independent Online
It was a great day for the Scotts, the two in red at least. At 15st 7lb (precisely three stones bulkier than when he first stepped on to the international stage on England's visit to the Arms Park six years ago), the different animal Scott Gibbs has become since returning from his rugby league exile was one reason why the Scots were trampled at Murrayfield on Saturday.

As "Land Of My Fathers" rang round the ground, Wales' midfield hitman doubtless thought of his old man, Graham, a former international pole vaulter and gymnast. Jonathan Humphreys, who led the Welsh on their revival mission, could think of Colin, a former ABA welterweight champion who made sure his son could fight for the national cause.

The sporting field of Scott Quinnell's father happened to be the golden one of which Wales were dreaming on Saturday night. As the prodigal son announced his return to the Welsh Five Nations cause after his mercenary mission to Wigan, it was impossible to see him as anything other than the son of his father. The charge for the opening try and the battering- ram raiding from the back row was reminiscent of not just the 1994 season in which the great young Scott inspired Wales to their only outright championship win since the 1970s; it evoked memories of his dad in the heat of many a battle.

That Derek was a Lionheart of a player was evident from the day he came in as blind-side flanker and made sure Sid Going went nowhere in the British Isles' crucial third Test victory in New Zealand in 1971. He did so as an uncapped Welshman who later savoured three Triple Crowns and a Grand Slam in the three full Five Nations seasons he played.

He was on the losing side in just three of the 18 championship games he played and his eldest son now boasts four wins in five - no mean feat for a latter-day Welsh international, though Craig, the younger Quinnell boyo, has a 100 per cent record, having made his Five Nations debut as a second-half replacement on Saturday.

A second title in his second Five Nations campaign beckons Scott, his reluctance to wear the three feathers at half the pay of the home-based players now a fading memory down in the valleys. "It is a great challenge for me," he said on Saturday night, "but I'm looking no further than the Ireland game."

The same cannot be said of Derek. As a Lions selector he has a duty to look to the land of his son for the best No 8 in the British Isles: another mighty Quinnell.

Comments