Where are they now?: Mervyn Davies

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The Independent Online
'MERVYN had all the attributes. I could never imagine anybody playing better as a No 8,' Gerald Davies once said of an international team-mate with whom he shared the golden age of Welsh rugby.

Reputation precedes him still. Even after 17 years out of the game, news that he had qualified to coach 'set the phone red hot'. Now, while not selling financial services for a living, he looks after Hendy, near Llanelli, one level below the Heineken League.

The playing career of Mervyn Davies, capped a record 38 times between 1969 and 1976 in the middle of the back row by Wales, almost ended in tragedy. Fresh from leading Wales to a record- breaking Grand Slam, he was captaining Swansea during a Welsh Cup semi-final on 28 March, 1976 when he collapsed with a brain haemorrhage.

'In many ways I was not really compos mentis for two years afterwards. When you're top of the pile one minute and then suddenly you have trouble beating your son at tiddlywinks it takes a long time to come to terms with it.' Recurrent eye problems since have needed four operations.

His absence became an enforced one when he wrote a book about his experiences, contravening the game's now revised rules on professionalism. With his amateur status restored, however, he has returned only after much deliberation. 'I always thought of rugby as a player's game. I'm 46 now and I've had to relearn a lot.

'It is a bit 'suck it and see' so far. But if you were to ask me if I was enjoying it and would perhaps like to go on to a higher level, the answer would have to be 'yes'.'

(Photograph omitted)